There's an ongoing story that's received a lot of local attention over the past few years, but I'm not sure how much national coverage it's received. It really deserves attention just to put the word out there in hopes that such terrible acts are never committed again.
Typical Medicare Fraud
Defrauding Medicare is unfortunately a fact of life and probably will be for as long as the system exists. Typical fraud by a healthcare provider involves submitting bills for services that were never done, enhancing claims to include bogus items, or something along those lines.
This is dishonest, immoral, and it cheats taxpayers out of money, as money goes to pay for things that never happened, but a Farid Fata, a doctor here in the Detroit area took it one step further.
One terrible, sick step further.
Terrible Medicare Fraud of the Worst Kind Imaginable
Dr. Fata was a doctor specializing in cancer. He diagnosed cancer and then treated it. He decided to pull a Medicare fraud. But, he didn't go the traditional route. Nope. In fact, all of the claims that he submitted for services rendered were 100% accurate.
The only problem is that in hundreds of cases, the treatments that he administered were not necessary. Many people who he treated for cancer did not have cancer. At all.
His scheme was that he would get referrals from other doctors whose patients had abnormal levels, and were tested for cancer. He would do further testing, and while many people did have cancer, many didn't, yet he would fake the diagnosis and begin treating the cancer.
He put people on chemotherapy, radiation, and all sorts of other cancer treatments and had them go through the hell of these treatments, as well as the mental anguish of thinking that they were fighting cancer.
It's sickening to think about yet it went on for years until people started getting suspicious. It all started to fall apart when a doctor, who already had suspicions of wrongdoing and had submitted his notice, treated a patient that had broken her leg. Other doctors at the hospital saw the cancer diagnosis and brought him in, as he was on-call, to make sure that their work wouldn't interfere with the cancer treatment. He looked through the chart and none of the levels indicated any sort of cancer being present. A second opinion confirmed this, and within days, the whole scheme began to unravel.
Dr. Fata admitted his scheme. He's in jail and I hope he never gets out. While he and his practice treated thousands of patients that did actually have cancer, there are hundreds out there who now have to live every day knowing that they were violated in ways that I can't even begin to imagine. He employed hundreds of people from other doctors to nurses to office staff. Somehow, he hid his ruse for a long time. People had suspicions, but the people with fake diagnoses were ‘his' patients.
Scratch that. They were his victims.
Cancer Treatment Sucks
I haven't had cancer, but I have known people that have. My step-mom fought breast cancer years ago. My wife's aunt has fought it. Another aunt has ovarian cancer and has been through torturous treatments and surgeries. The treatments we have often help beat or hold off the disease, but the treatments suck. There's no other way to put it. You're basically poisoning your body to try to get rid of cancer.
Hopefully Tomorrow Changes That
It's my vision that one day cancer treatments won't suck. We're probably a long ways away from curing cancer. Still, I believe that one day, people will look back at how we treat cancer today and it will be considered rudimentary. It might even be considered barbaric.
And if that's what they use to describe it, then great, because that means they'll have come up with something better, just like we've improved so many treatments for other diseases compared to how they were treated long ago.
Meanwhile, we have what we have. It scares me to think that while this man is behind bars and hopefully stays there, you probably have others out there with similar or even worse ideas.
This shows the importance of a second opinion. No matter how much you trust your doctor, if he or she ever tells you that you have cancer, I think the first and most important step is to go somewhere else and make sure that you do. You owe it to yourself.
Readers, had you heard of Dr. Fata and his monstrous acts?