Originally published on July 12, 2015, at NationofChange.org
An oncologist was sentenced to 45 years in prison on Friday after administering medically unnecessary chemotherapy to patients who did not have cancer in order to overbill their insurance. Instead of saving lives, Dr. Farid Fata purposely misdiagnosed his patients so he could order more expensive treatments and invasive tests without concern for their health. After collecting millions of dollars from fraudulent claims to Medicare and private insurance companies, Dr. Fata was finally caught when two employees uncovered his crimes and decided to become whistleblowers.
After noticing an abnormality in her blood work, Monica Flagg’s primary care physician referred her to Dr. Fata, who owned and operated a cancer treatment clinic called Michigan Hematology Oncology (MHO) with multiple locations throughout Detroit and a diagnostic testing facility, United Diagnostics PLLC. In July 2012, Dr. Fata lied to Flagg and told her that she had aggressive multiple myeloma. Flagg endured numerous tests, three painful bone marrow biopsies, and copious amounts of immune boosters before undergoing a round of chemotherapy on July 1, 2013.
On the same day of her first and only chemotherapy treatment, Flagg later tripped over a suitcase in her bedroom and broke her leg. While recuperating at the hospital, Flagg met Dr. Soe Maunglay, who was another doctor in Dr. Fata’s practice taking care of his patients while Fata was on vacation in Lebanon. Concerned for Flagg’s health and suspecting his boss of purposely misdiagnosing his patients, Dr. Maunglay conducted a series of tests to determine whether or not Flagg even had cancer.
“He told me, ‘You don’t have cancer. You are 51 years old. You’re healthy. Don’t ever go back to Dr. Fata. Find a new doctor,’” Flagg recalled.