DETROIT, Mich. – A doctor who intentionally misdiagnosed patients and made them pay for treatments that they didn’t need is facing his patients for the first time.
Prosecutors say Dr. Farid Fata told some of them that they were deathly ill with diseases they didn’t actually have.
In 2010, Fata diagnosed Robert Sobieray with a rare blood cancer. After that diagnosis, Sobieray underwent chemotherapy and radiation that made his teeth fall out and his body twitch uncontrollably.
After Fata’s arrest in 2013, Sobieray learned he never had cancer.
“I have so much hatred towards Fata. His name causes an instant headache,” Sobieray told NBC News. “He gets my stomach turning. It is hard to explain.. the things I want to do to that guy I couldn’t say in public. I hope he gets life.”
Fata pleaded guilty to fraud in September, admitting that he received millions of dollars from insurance companies for unnecessary treatments.
In fact, officials say 553 patients received treatments they didn’t need, which resulted in 9,000 injections or infusions of medication.
Steve Skrzypczak was told he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, had a mediport implanted in his chest and underwent 25 treatments in six months. As it turned out, it was all a ruse.
“I saw two doctors after he was put in jail. Both told me within five to 10 minutes that I never had cancer and I shouldn’t have ever been treated for cancer,” he said.
Authorities say that while Fata told healthy patients they were sick, he also sold false hope to the terminally ill so they would keep buying treatments.
“Some of these terminal patients never knew they were dying because of Fata’s lies,” prosecutors said.
“He told my mother he was going to cure her. He promised her. He said, ‘You will see your youngest granddaughter graduate from high school.’ And none of that happened,” she said.
Now, Fata is facing 175 years in prison.
His sentencing hearing began on Monday and is expected to last throughout the week.