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Doctor tells hundreds of healthy patients they have cancer

Dr. Farid Fata in Michigan did the unthinkable when he told hundreds of healthy patients that they had cancer so he could collect money from them and from their insurance. This week he will be sentenced.

It is hard to imagine a more evil thing than to tell people they have cancer when in fact they are healthy. The worry. The pain. The fear. But it’s not just that. Dr. Fata (if one can even refer to him as an M.D.) treated patients. Which means these 553 misdiagnosed patients had to suffer all the indignities and pains associated with chemotherapy for no reason. They were, in fact, not cancer patients at all.

Prosecutors say even those patients who really did have cancer were pushed to do more treatments even when they had little chance of survival, just so he could charge them more (or he told patients the opposite to push them toward more radical treatment). The doctor pleaded guilty to fraud and will have to face some of the people he tricked this week.

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But can it ever be enough?

As the daughter of someone who actually did have cancer, I can say watching someone go through chemo was one of the worst experiences of my life. Second only to watching her die. The mouth sores. The hair loss. The constant nausea and discomfort and misery. My mother suffered terribly. Sometimes it was hard to tell whether the treatment or the illness was worse. And if all that had been for no reason? Well, it’s unimaginable.

This is an unbelievably cruel abuse of power and trust. When we visit a doctor, we put our health in their hands. We trust what they say. We follow what they say. We make decisions based on what they tell us. To think they would lie to us and hurt us for the sole purpose of making money from us is beyond anyone’s wildest nightmare.

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He deserves a sentence fitting for the one he gave his patients. And since that is impossible, he deserves to never see the light of day again. The greed. The abuse of trust. It’s maddening.

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