A Michigan oncologist has pleaded guilty to 16 counts of health care fraud. The guilty plea comes a year after Dr. Farid Fata was indicted on charges he deliberately misdiagnosed patients with cancer in order to justify unnecessary treatment, including high doses of chemotherapy, and then billed insurers. Prosecutors are pushing for life in prison.
Angela, a nurse who filed a complaint against Dr. Fata after she interviewed for a job in his office, previously appeared on The Doctors, along with one of Dr. Fata's patients.
She attended the court hearing where Dr. Fata entered his guilty plea.
"I was so angry sitting in that courtroom, because truly he used his patients as commodities," Angela says. "They were commodities to him. If they were not sitting in his chemotherapy chairs, he was not making any money."
In September 2013, shortly after Dr. Fata was arrested on charges of health care fraud, Maggie, one of the Dr. Fata's patients who was misdiagnosed with cancer, spoke out on national television for the first time.
Maggie said Dr. Fata ran some blood tests and diagnosed her with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells. He told her she needed to begin chemotherapy immediately. But after about six months of treatment, she said the side effects were so debilitating, she decided to seek second and third opinions. Both doctors found that she never had cancer and didn't need chemotherapy. By then, Maggie said, the damage already had been done.
"My quality of life went from being active with my family to being bedridden," Maggie said.