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When you visit your doctor, you hope and expect to receive care, treatment, and advice based on what’s best for you, the patient.  When Detroit-area cancer “specialist” Dr. Farid Fata saw his patients, however, he had something else in mind: money.  As part of a huge plan to defraud Medicare and other health insurance plans, Fata unbelievably betrayed his patients’ trust by ordering and performing hundreds of unnecessary, expensive, and often dangerous cancer treatments.

Admitted Guilt for Insurance Fraud

Last September, Fata pleaded guilty to insurance fraud.  This week, victims and survivors of his greedy crime have an opportunity to share their stories with the judge who will be sentencing Fata.  The tales of pain, suffering, and loss are heartbreaking.  Many patients underwent difficult chemotherapy treatments that were completely unneeded.  Some developed serious infections from invasive procedures.  Some of his 500 victims died under his care.  Prosecutors are seeking a 175-year sentence, while Fata’s lawyer has asked for 25 years.

Holding Bad Doctors Accountable

Last week I posted a story about Tiffany Ingham, the anesthesiologist who insulted a patient while he was sedated under her care.  In that civil case, a jury awarded $500,000, including $200,000 in punitive damages.  While Fata is now facing criminal accountability for his atrocious misconduct, civil accountability pales in comparison for the reasons I discussed last week.  Michigan’s lack of punitive damages in civil cases and capped non-economic damages mean that financial compensation to victims of medical malpractice is often woefully inadequate.

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