Fata, an oncologist in Michigan, has admitted to prescribing chemotherapy and
other cancer treatments to otherwise healthy patients — telling them they had
cancer in order to collect money from their insurance companies and Medicare.
treatments do not come without side effects, and several of his previously
healthy patients have come together in a civil suit against him. But no
monetary compensation could make up for the ways in which he has irreparably
altered their lives; some losing limbs and now facing chronic health conditions
as a result of his unnecessary treatment practices, while others were actually
brought to death by the treatments themselves.
It all brought
me back to that day, just over five years ago now, when a doctor told me he was
convinced I had ovarian cancer. I was young, it would have been rare, but he
wanted me to agree to a full hysterectomy. After that, he said he would refer
me to an oncologist for further treatment.
I didn’t have
cancer. But I walked out the door that day believing that I did. Calling my
father and bursting into tears as I sobbed, “Cancer. It’s cancer.”
He would have left me barren, unnecessarily, at the age of 26, without ever having been given even the chance to try conceiving.
I am thankful
every day that I chose to get a second opinion before moving forward. Something
wasn’t adding up, and the next doctor to look at my records agreed. She said
cancer was a possibility, but she wasn’t so convinced as to want to pursue such
extreme surgical options just yet. Instead, she asked me to consent to
exploratory surgery — with the goal being simply to gain further answers and
save as much of my reproductive organs as possible.
It was after
that surgery that I was officially diagnosed with endometriosis, confused as
cancer by my original doctor because of the solid cysts I had forming on each
of my ovaries that were, in fact, made of endometrial tissue.
I did not have
believe that first doctor had the same nefarious motivations as Dr. Fata, I
just think he was careless. He would have given me a hysterectomy, and then he
would have sent me on my way – convinced that he had done what was best, and
that it would have been my ultimate fate as an endo patient anyway.
would have been right, as I do now find myself contemplating
this option more than ever before. But he would have robbed me of the years
it took to come to peace with that decision. He would have left me barren,
unnecessarily, at the age of 26, without ever having been given even the
chance to try conceiving.
I would have
forever wondered, “What if?”
I had always
been the girl who trusted the advice of her medical practitioners. I figured
they were the ones who had gone to school for years and earned their degrees,
surely they were more knowledgeable than me. I had never previously thought to
question what I was being told by doctors. But after that incident, I became
wary — prone to seeking out second opinions, doing my own research and never fully
trusting in anything I was told.
those who would say I take it too far. That I am the annoying patient all
doctors dread and that I should simply learn to trust, because … science.
But science is
fallible, and so are doctors.
weren’t, we wouldn’t now be discussing the victims of a doctor who chose to use
his profession as a means of harming others for his own personal gain.
What Dr. Fata
did is horrific. It’s terrifying to imagine someone in his position being so
blatantly evil. And it’s obvious he isn’t representative of all those within
the medical community. I have many friends who are in the medical field and who
are just as horrified by his actions as I am.
Seek second opinions. Look for your own answers. And never consent to any procedure or treatment until you are confident it is the right answer for you or your child.
like him only increase the level of distrust toward the medical profession
that already exists within people like me.
As a mother
now, I work to temper that distrust as best I can. I still ask questions. I
still do my own research. I still push the line and make decisions that sometimes
go against standard medical advice. But I try really hard to be reasonable in
all of that — to trust where I can and to remember that there are so many
benefits to modern medicine as well, that there are certainly medical
practitioners with the best interest of their patients in mind.
There is far
more good than bad.
Still, if Dr.
Fata teaches us nothing else, it should be to never trust blindly when it comes
to major medical decisions. Seek second opinions. Look for your own answers.
And never consent to any procedure or treatment until you are confident it is
the right answer for you or your child.
in Dr. Fata’s care. Patients who would likely otherwise still be here. They
lost their lives because they trusted a man who valued his bank account more
than his oath.
My heart goes
out to his victims and his families, but I have no sympathy at all for Dr.
Fata. Because not only has he destroyed the lives of so many with his
callousness, cruelty and selfish desires, he has also given me (and others like
me) one more reason to distrust.
In a world
where we would all be better off if we could simply believe in those who are
meant to keep us healthy.