I’ve stewed over this for years, since 2013 when he was first arrested. But ever since Farid Fata was sentenced to 45 years in prison (ONLY 45!) for fraud, I’m like a dog with a bone. I just can’t let go.
Last week I took at look at the Farid Fata case. He is the (former) oncologist who sentenced 553 people to their death or a lifetime of illness or financial bust by lying to them – telling them they had cancer they did not have, then treating them with chemo they didn’t need and ruining their lives. The 45 years he’ll spend in prison were not for the heinous crimes of destroying their health, instilling fear, breaking their hearts and stealing their hard-earned money. Rather he was penalized for defrauding Medicare and insurance.
Beyond the obvious disturbing and distressful aspects of this case, beyond my personal bias about misdiagnosis, and certainly beyond my real sympathy for the victims, is a big concern I have for advocates. Misdiagnosis, whether intentional or not, is happening with more frequency as doctors are spending less time with their patients. It is no stretch to see the responsibility for determination of a correct diagnosis as falling more squarely on the shoulders of advocates.
Despite the fact that we are not doctors or diagnosticians, our role in making sure clients get the right answers will become even more prominent as time goes on. For many reasons we can NOT afford to get it wrong!
Last week’s post was about the steps private advocates would have taken that would have prevented their clients from falling for these intentionally imposed misdiagnoses. Four steps. Four services advocates know to perform. Each by itself could have stopped a client-patient from being misdiagnosed.
But the bone I can’t let go of actually stems from a comment made by one of the post’s readers, Cindi, in reaction to one step – seeking a second opinion.
“Fata was many patients’ second opinion. He offered a better solution…. To assume none of his patients sought a second opinion is insulting…”
For one thing, it never occurred to me that Fata would have been the second opinion oncologist, and would have ended up treating people who had already received an opinion. It should have, but it had not.
But secondly, the more I think about it, that very fact proves that
…a second opinion is no longer good enough.