Expert testifies against cancer doctor at sentencing hearing

AP News
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Posted: Jul 08, 2015 6:02 PM
Expert testifies against cancer doctor at sentencing hearing

DETROIT (AP) — An expert who looked at the files of 100 patients of a Detroit-area cancer doctor facing prison for unnecessary treatments testified Wednesday that the records were disturbing.

Dr. David Steensma of Harvard Medical School said some patients received hundreds of unnecessary chemotherapy treatments. He testified for the government at the third day of a sentencing hearing for Dr. Farid Fata, an Oakland County oncologist who was charged with widespread health care fraud. He pleaded guilty last fall to fraud, money laundering and conspiracy and could get his sentence Thursday or Friday.

During cross-examination, Steensma said some treatments were "within the realm of reasonable medical judgment." But he later clarified his remarks, saying certain drugs might have been the right choice but not the dosage. Some doses, he said, were too low.

Earlier, Fata was called to the witness stand by his lawyers to clarify points about his guilty plea. Prosecutors are seeking a 175-year prison term. They say there were 553 victims.

About two dozen spoke in court Tuesday, telling emotional stories of debilitating treatments that weren't needed. Some didn't even have cancer.

Greg Anderson of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan talked about the insurance company's losses. He also choked up because he's a cancer survivor.