Bioethics Blogs

A Doctor Lied & Patients Suffered

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

When I was graduating from college, I had a friend who was diagnosed with cancer, at least, that’s what she told her friends. She would ask to crash on a living room coach because she was scared to be alone, or ask for ride home from work because she felt too week to complete her full shift. Some things did not add up. We were not allowed to tell her parents. She said she was getting chemo but had no side effects at all. Some people became suspicious about whether she was sick and drifted away from caring. After two years, she finally admitted to having made the whole thing up—she had wanted attention and to feel important.

I felt betrayed. The idea that someone would lie about having cancer was appalling and beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior. I had reasoned away all of the indications that she was not sick and ignored my doubts because I believed no one would like about having cancer.

Imagine it was not a friend who lied about having cancer, but your physician telling you that you have cancer when you do not. Dr. Farid Fata was a Detroit-area oncologist who was the subject of a joint FBI, IRS, and DHHS investigation. That probe discovered that for 6 years, Dr. Fata prescribed unnecessary treatments, and even sent healthy patients for cancer treatment, telling them that they suffered from the disease.

Prosecutors allege that 553 people received these unnecessary treatments.

Fata is in the middle of a criminal trial facing 175 years imprisonment.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.