This past July, a previously-respected doctor specializing in the treatment of cancer was sentenced to 45-years in prison. The physician was given this sentence because of misdiagnosing and mistreating patients. Misdiagnosis is one of the most common errors made by physicians and is a leading cause of medical malpractice claims. In this particular case, the misdiagnosis was criminal, because it was done on purpose to enrich the physician.
Most medical mistakes are negligent, but not necessarily a violation of the law. While no criminal charges are usually filed against a doctor who makes a careless error, victims affected by the doctor’s negligence can move forward with a claim for compensation in a civil lawsuit. An Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer can assist plaintiffs in using the tort laws and civil court system to get their own version of justice by getting the compensation they need for injuries resulting from medical negligence.
Medical Negligence in Atlanta Can Lead to Civil Lawsuits & Sometimes Criminal Cases
Yahoo News reported on the cancer doctor who was sentenced to 45-years imprisonment. His name was Dr. Farid Fata. Fata admitted he had misdiagnosed his patients and subjected them to unnecessary and excessive rounds of chemotherapy. He improperly administered at least 2,000 unnecessary chemotherapy treatments to patients. There were more than 550 victims affected by the doctor’s misdiagnosis and the doctor collected $34.7 million in improper payments.
Fata is 50-years-old and the 45-year sentence will likely mean he will spend the rest of his life in prison. The defense advocated for a 25-year sentence, arguing the doctor would likely die in prison because of his hypertension and his diabetes. The prosecutor, however, requested 175-years maximum for the doctor because of his egregious fraud.
Many of the patients, unfortunately, will also face lifelong consequences because of the actions of the doctor. Some of his patients were able to speak in court and reported the doctor’s misdiagnosis had left them with unrelenting muscle and joint weakness, chronic pain throughout the body, missing teeth, and other lasting health consequences.
Some of the patients he treated died because of the “care” he provided. Many never had cancer at all, while others had cancer but received excessive chemotherapy treatments they did not need. The chemotherapy has a detrimental impact on the body because it is not discriminatory in the cells it kills. Healthy cells can die from exposure to the chemotherapy and it should be administered sparingly, and only when necessary.
The patients who received the chemotherapy they did not need described themselves as being “tortured” for no reason as a result of the doctor’s actions. While the doctor was not actually charged with a crime for the malpractice, he pled guilty to 13-counts of health care fraud as well as two counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks. Pursuing him on these charges allowed prosecutors to get justice without needing to add criminal indictments for crimes that may have been more difficult to prove.
The case was an egregious example of a doctor misdiagnosing patients on purpose, but accidental misdiagnosis happens every day. Patients should seek a second opinion when diagnosed with a serious condition to try to avoid being harmed by a doctor’s error. If patients are misdiagnosed and treatment is delayed or unnecessary treatment is provided, patients deserve to be compensated for resulting losses.
The Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury caused by a misdiagnosis. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.