Over five hundred patients went through their worst nightmare, cancer and treatment, only to find out that they never really had cancer.
CBS news reports on the shocking story. Five hundred patients were turned into victims over the last few years.
Many of these patients took to the courts recently stating how this physician ruined their lives forcing them to get unnecessary cancer medical treatments.
“Courtroom sketches could not adequately capture the anguish of the victims Tuesday as one by one, they confronted the cancer doctor who prescribed aggressive chemotherapy for patients he knew were not ill, and for those who were, ordering treatments that were excessive while billing medicare $34 million,” according to CBS.
Reporters say the physician apparently showed no emotion when prosecutors said he would bully and browbeat patients who dared to question his cancer treatment plan.
The doctor already pleaded guilty to fraud and other charges. A memo from prosecutors demanding a life sentence said he would tell his patients they risked death without him. He even told one patient, ‘Your life or your money’.
Many witnesses had much to say in court. Ms. Stedtefeld, whose father died in the doctor’s care: ‘You poisoned, tortured and murdered my dad.’ From Maggie Dorsey: ‘Even though I am not dead, I am a shadow of my former self’.
The case went on for four hours in federal court. CBS explains, “And it involved only a handful of the 553 victims prosecutors identified. People who were physically, emotionally and financially devastated.”
The court took expert witness testimony as well. Experts took the stand to describe the overuse of chemotherapy. One drug, rituximab, is generally given eight times for aggressive lymphoma. But the physician prescribed it to one patient a whopping 94 times.
One of the patients, Miss Flagg, who was falsely told by the doctor that she had multiple myeloma, was too distraught to speak in court. Treatments the physician prescribed left her continually exhausted and in pain. She was later asked what she thinks of him.
She said, “I'm very angry. I cannot believe any doctor would betray so many people and he did.” Miss Flagg said she saw him in court and was asked if she saw a man that was contrite. She also said, “I cried when I saw him walk in the door. He showed no emotion. He didn't care. I was very angry.”
Many are wondering, how did he actually get away with this? The answer is the doctor was a well-respected physician backed up by other well-respected physicians and an amazing local hospital. But it was a physician who worked for him, who finally blew the whistle on the doctor’s illegal actions.