This is a continuation from the most recent blog post below…
What about the hospital system that he worked for, or the drug companies that sourced his practice?
The volume of patients was beyond excessive. Fata reportedly lined up 50-60 patients a day, whom he would hand off to unlicensed doctors before spending a few minutes with each at the end of the appointment.
One medical journal editorial posited this theory: Fata was simply so profitable that no one wanted to ask questions.
By the time Fata was arrested, his practice was purchasing about $45 million worth of drugs annually for a staff of three doctors. The average drug buy for one full-time oncologist is between $1.5 and 1.9 million a year.
As of now, there are no reports that any other person in Fata’s practice or hospital system has been charged with a crime.
What about the patients? Did anyone seek a second opinion, or question the treatment?
Most ethical medical professionals would urge anyone diagnosed with a fatal illness to seek a second opinion … unless there is dire urgency.
At least some Fata patients who asked for a referral for a second opinion were told that it was imperative to begin aggressive treatments immediately. Second opinions would cause delay, hurting the chances of recovery.
The daughter of one of Fata’s deceased patients stated at the sentencing hearing:
Several times when I had researched and questioned his treatment, he asked if I had fellowshipped at Sloan Kettering like he had.”
This cringing statement shows how Fata used his position to degrade or belittle anyone who questioned his treatments.
The harsh reality of medical malpractice lawsuits
My firm, D’Amore Law Group, gets dozens of questions every week about potential medical malpractice claims.
Any one of these patients, individually, would have a hard time proving a case against Fata.
Cancer treatments are based on medical opinions, which are often just that: opinions.
While there are accepted best practices for treatments, a doctor deviating from those practices may not, by itself, be considered “medical malpractice.”
No one patient, alone, could have stopped him.
The good news, if there is any in this case, is that the civil justice system may help get justice for the victims. There are at least 40 civil cases for medical malpractice pending against Fata—and probably against the hospital that enabled his crimes.
However, lawyers representing Fata’s victims say that the potential recovery available for these people, some of whom endured years of unnecessary and painful chemotherapy, is relatively low. Michigan has a medical malpractice cap of $450,000 for punitive damages such as pain and suffering.