Dr. Farid Fata, who owns Michigan Hematology Oncology which has six offices throughout Michigan in the cities of Clarkston, Bloomfield Hills, Lapeer, Sterling Heights, Troy and Oak Park is now out of jail, but he is on bail. Why am I even telling you about this, because as usual I have an important lesson to share with you.

Dr. Fata has been charged with filing false insurance claims estimated to be worth up to $35 millions by deliberately misdiagnosing patients with cancer and then illegally billing Medicare for the their chemotherapy treatment. This is a financial travesty, especially in light of the financial situation in healthcare.

More importantly, what about those poor patients who went through the trauma of believing they had cancer and of course undergoing unnecessary chemotherapy to treat their non-existent cancer? I am sure knowing what their unnecessary plight has been saddens us all. As I think about it he assaulted each and everyone of his patients.

But, where is the lesson I promised. Here it is and it’s simple, it is called getting a second opinions. If each of these patients had sought a second opinion on their diagnosis and treatment Dr. Fata would not have been able to carry out this horrendous scheme and each of them would not have had to experience this terrible occurrence. Please don’t think I am blaming the patients, we all want to trust our doctors. This situation just points out the need for each and every one of us to always be vigilant and become ultimately responsible for our own health care. Insurance companies pay for a second opinion and clearly for good reason.

Joel T Nowak, M.A., M.S.W.