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In August, Dr. F. Fata, an oncologist practicing in Metro Detroit, was charged by the FBI with numerous counts of medical fraud and malpractice committed against Medicare and it patients.  Since my husband was one of Dr. Fata’s non-Medicare patients, I’ve been paying close attention to the case.

The details are extremely alarming, especially the ones about his ordering unnecessary chemotherapy treatments.  If you’re interested, you can easily find out more through an internet search.  Right now, I want to talk about the dynamics which allowed Fata to do so much harm to so many people.

First, Fata gave an Oscar-winning performance as a kind, gentle man who only wanted to help his patients get well.  I was with my husband during his first, long appointment, and I saw it.

Second, Fata was able to convince/pressure people into doing things they knew were wrong.  Everyone on his staff, from the office workers to the nurses to the other doctors, knew what he was doing, and although some eventually quit, no one, as far as I know, blew the whistle on him.

Third, Fata committed most of his alleged fraud and malpractice at the Crittenton (Hospital) Cancer Center, which only added to his credibility.  The center is a beautiful, new building, and it brought a lot of acclaim to the hospital, as well as a very fat stream of income.  And the hospital administrators, while stroking their growing egos, never bothered to perform the most basic oversight.

And this third dynamic is what I want to focus on.  As someone who grew up in a house filled with ghosts instead of relatives because of the Holocaust, I’m all too familiar with what can result from this kind of self-interested indifference.  Of course this was on a much smaller scale, but the results are appallingly similar.  People were tortured, for what is unnecessary chemotherapy if not torture?  And people will die.  Chemotherapy is extremely toxic, so it stands to reason that many of the people he overdosed will eventually die from it.

The way I see it, every administrator at Crittenton Hospital is guilty of criminal negligence.  I think they all should be fired, and they all should be indicted as passive co-conspirators.

We need to start holding people responsible no only for their actions but for their inactions.  Dr. Fata got away with what he did because no one involved cared enough to stop him.  So now we need to start stopping them.

 

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