Fata patient: 'I know what it feels like to be dying'
This is the victim impact statement given by Christopher Sneary, 55, of Rochester.
I was a patient and under the care of Dr. Farid Fata after being diagnosed and referred to him for testicular cancer from March, 2011 until his arrest August 6, 2013.
I was shocked and in disbelief that Dr. Fata had been arrested for alleged misdiagnosis of cancer and Medicare fraud. I wanted to believe he treated me properly and this was some sort of misunderstanding. I gave full and total trust to this man to get me and my family through this journey I was about to begin.
After his arrest I had to find and get a new doctor for continuing care and also to see if I had been properly treated by Dr. Fata. The news was very disturbing and shocking. After the new team of doctors took two weeks to read through 3,400 pages of medical records they were very concerned that the cancer was not treated as it should have been.
They were, however, more amazed and shocked that I had survived Dr. Fata's overly gross over-treatment of a fairly easy cancer to get rid of. This included 40 full days of chemo, 14 days of hydration, 3 iron infusions, 3 blood transfusions, 24 various steroid injections, and 37 radiation treatments to my testicles, abdomen, chest, and neck. They were appalled and had absolutely no idea how I was even sitting in their office that day. I didn't realize until my records were gone over with me at this time the magnitude of the life threatening treatments and improper procedures Dr. Fata had subjected me to.
The amount of negligent and improper procedures, gross over-treatment, surgery, complications and side effects are too long to list. Dr. Fata took full advantage of my trust in him, my fear of dying from this disease, and first and foremost my 'top of the line' health insurance. Those almost fatal decisions Dr. Fata made have affected almost every one of my bodily functions in my daily life.
My kidneys almost failed due to the poisoning and subsequent overdose of specific chemotherapy drugs. My bladder has been compromised due to the improper sequence and administering of protective drugs before certain chemotherapy drugs were given. My liver function has been compromised due to numerous 'medically unnecessary' iron infusions and the 7,000 plus oral medications. My heart has sustained unnecessary abuse and wear due to going into an atrial fibrillation condition due to the overdosing of chemo. This condition required me to have 3 cardioversions within a 24-hour period in hope of surviving.
My hands and feet have severe 'chemo-induced neuropathy.' In my case, this is one of the first symptoms an oncologist doctor has to indicate that too much chemo has been given and to back off or change chemo drugs. I let Dr. Fata be very aware of these symptoms numerous times and was told by him to "move your fingers and toes for some exercise and it will go away." My hands and feet play a major role in my job function as I am a tool and die maker. It has made my job unbearable most days, as I need to stand on my feet all day. Over four years later, my hands and feet have seen very little improvement. I'm told my chances have run out that the neuropathy will ever get better at this point.
My ears ring all the time and I have subsequent hearing loss due to the nerve damage. I have nervous twitches most nights while trying to fall sleep. I had a testicle that was medically 'unnecessarily' removed which now causes me erectile dysfunction. The excessive treatment has also damaged and compromised my immune and nervous systems. The numerous emotional memories are forever burned into my brain.
With all this excessive over-treatment comes living with the mental fear of very possible secondary cancers and additional severe future side effects. Dr. Fata's decision to grossly over chemo me instead of properly having several residual tumors surgically removed has left me in a very unfortunate position. These residual tumors that are still inside me are basically ticking time bombs. They are so severely scarred due to the over-treatment that they have become resistant to any treatment. They could at any time decide to grow again, then have to be surgically removed. If this was necessary, it would be in hopes that they get it all out, as any chemo or radiation to do the final cleanup after surgery will most likely be ineffective. It would most likely be my death sentence. I am now required to get CT scans and bloodwork for the rest of my life to monitor the movement and growth of them and hope to catch them if they do. Everything I do, or want to do, or used to do, will never be as it was. I will never be the same.
I was hospitalized many times for a total of 45 days for numerous issues. In my longest stay of two weeks on the ICU floor I know what I believe it feels like to be dying. With my heart beating at 225 beats per minute, slipping in and out of consciousness. They had to quickly perform additional cardioversions on me. Cardioversion is when they shock your heart to a dead stop, then shock you back to life in hopes of regulating your heartbeat. This is a very brutal procedure on not just your heart but your whole body. So brutal in fact you have to sign off on a waiver that this may be fatal and they put you to sleep just before the procedure. Unfortunately for me the first attempt did not work and I woke up from the anesthetic before the next cardioversion as they had no time to put me under again. It was a desperate situation; if not done, I would die, and if they did, I could die.
The pain of getting electrocuted to death and waking up from it is nothing I would wish on anyone to ever experience. I had asked Dr. Fata on his rounds that night if I would have to endure all this again? I still had three more rounds of chemo that could possibly put me at risk for these painful procedures again. His reply, as he put his hand on my shoulder and knowing he was overdosing me was, "You can handle this Chris, you're a tough guy."
I gave the survivor speech at Dr. Fata's cancer center for the "National Cancer Survivors Day" event in June, 2012. For me this speech was to be a stepping stone to move forward with my life. I took great pride and felt privileged that I was asked to do it. I was to use this as some closure with the horrible and sometimes torturous experiences I had been through and to move forward in getting my life back on track. I wanted to help inspire all who were there to be uplifted and give them some hope that they too could endure their treatments, beat the cancer they had, and get on with their lives also. I now feel I was used to portray Dr. Fata as the miracle doctor. I had nothing but the highest regard for him at that time. I now know the real facts. I am angry and feel very embarrassed and ashamed of myself for falling into his manipulative trap. I now have major trust issues with anyone or anything involving any medical decisions or my continuing care. I'm afraid they all are out to take advantage of the system only for their financial gains.
The financial harm and responsibility to me and my family has been and still is substantial. I have spent thousands on my deductibles and co-pays. My health insurance company was billed close to $400,000.00 for his prescribed procedures. Most of it was unnecessary. The hard number to determine is the time and effort I will never be able to makeup that should have been devoted to my tool and die business. I estimate that I have lost more than 6,000 man hours in the past 52 months. This setback for my time alone could potentially have been worth several million dollars of lost revenue to the business. It now affects my livelihood. With the condition I'm in now I would be very hard pressed to find employment elsewhere in this trade. I need to continue working at my business or I could possibly lose everything. If I lose my business and my health insurance, who is to pay for the continuous care I still require and any possible, and most likely, relapse cancer care? He has financially destroyed any chance of me being able to retire with any financial security.
Dr. Farid Fata doesn't deserve the title of doctor anymore. He is a manipulative, deceptive, devious, greedy, cold-hearted, lying, cowardly bastard who has no inkling of compassion or regard for human life. He took advantage of me and my family when I was at the most desperate and lowest point in my life. Trust, loyalty, responsibility, accountability, respect, reverence, kindness, and compassion are traits I have lived by and have treated everyone with my whole life. I only expected the same in return from him, my doctor. He has violated all of these. He can use every last breath of his remaining life to reflect on how his hideous and greedy choices affected me, my family, and so many others. He is an evil person. Farid Fata deserves nothing less than a natural life sentence.