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Expert Testifies Cancer Doctor With Hundreds Of Fraud Victims Gave 'Stunning' Number Of Unneeded Injections

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A Harvard medical professor says patients of a metro Detroit cancer doctor were at high risk for infections because of excessive doses of powerful, expensive drugs that they didn't need.

Dr. Farid Fata, who admits giving unnecessary treatments to more than 500 people, in September pleaded guilty to committing millions of dollars in fraud against insurance companies and patients.

With the hearing underway Monday, the judge will hear testimony from experts and victims before sending him to prison.

Testifying for the government, Dr. Dan Longo says some patients received a "stunning" number of injections of a drug called Rituximab. It's typically given eight times for aggressive lymphoma but one patient got it 94 times. In another case, 112 doses were given, when the max was 24.

Prosecutors are seeking a 175-year sentence for the doctor, while attorneys for the Oakland County man are asking for no more than 25 years.

Some of Fata's patients were allegedly exposed to powerful drugs over and over, despite having no cancer. In an indictment, prosecutors said Fata gave one of his patients 155 chemo treatments over two-and-a-half years — even though the patient was cancer-free.

The hearing could last more than a week with former patients expected to speak in court Tuesday.

Terry Spurlock of Holly, who says his immune system was ruined when Fata ordered him to undergo three years of unnecessary treatment after his tumor was gone, would like to address his former doctor directly.

"I'd say 'Fata, look what you done to everybody just to line your pockets.'ve got so much time to think about it, I don't know. He's just a son of a (expletive)," said Spurlock.

"Today I feel healthy like everybody, but tomorrow there's no telling — I might end up sick. And I can't hold a job that way and he's ruined my life because of that."

The government says Fata's work was "tainted by his greed."

In a sentencing memorandum, the U.S. Attorney's office said Fata, "is the most egregious fraudster in the history of the country, measured not only by the millions of dollars he stole but by the harm he inflicted on his victims, over 550 identified so far."

Oncology nurse Angela Swantek tried to blow the whistle on Fata, but she said officials at the state wouldn't listen.

"How could you do this as a doctor? How could you look somebody in the eye and tell them that they have cancer, and watch them lose weight, and have all the horrible side effects that chemotherapy can cause when they don't have cancer?" Swantek said.

Fata — a native of Lebanon —  owned and operated Michigan Hematology Oncology Centers (MHO) with  offices in Clarkston, Bloomfield Hills, Lapeer, Sterling Heights, Troy and Oak Park. He remains jailed without bond.

TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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