In a tremendous example of the power of the whistleblower, Dr. Farid Fata, a Michigan oncologist was sentenced to 45 years in prison for performing excessive and painful cancer treatments on hundreds of patients, many of whom did not even have cancer in the first place. Dr. Fata pled guilty to criminal charges that he scammed more than 500 patients, including telling otherwise healthy people that they had cancer, persisting with chemotherapy for longer than necessary, and giving improper or excessive treatments, defrauding Medicare to the tune of $35 million. The pain and suffering wrought by Dr. Fata was put to an end by whistleblowers, including the doctor’s office manager and a nurse.
Anyone who has themselves had cancer or known a friend or family member to have gone through chemotherapy knows what a horrific and painful experience it is. In addition to the fear and pain caused by the disease itself, chemotherapy essentially “nukes” the system by poisoning the body with toxic radiation, killing both cancerous and healthy tissue. It is difficult to imagine that a medical practitioner would willingly subject patients to such unnecessary torture, and yet that is what Dr. Fata did, solely for financial gain.
The story of Dr. Fata is being reported by every major news outlet in America, and so need not be retold here. For those interested, a particularly good explanation of the extent of Dr. Fata’s scheme and how he got away with it for so long can be found in an article by Ed Cara with the Medical Daily. As one medical ethicist is quoted as saying, when discussing how to stop corrupt doctors from destroying lives and defrauding taxpayers, “It often takes a whistleblower.”
The False Claims Act is not just a means of recovering money. The False Claims Act rights wrongs and keeps us safe. It stops fraud by those we trust with our lives – from doctors and dentists, whom we trust to keep us and our children in good health, to defense contractors, whom we trust to keep our soldiers safe. The False Claims Act saves lives.
Bracker & Marcus LLC was not involved in this action, but is proud to know and have worked with the lawyers who were.