He's being held on $9 million bond. As his patients, former patients, and their relatives try to make sense of what happened, they've discovered their medical records are now in the hands of the Department of Justice.
Of course, those files are evidence in the case, but it means they need to work with the feds to get the information they need for medical care, possible legal action, or to answer their unanswered questions about treatment from Dr. Fata.
"I really don't know if I'm cancer free or really what is going on," said Alice Adams, a former patient of Dr. Fata's.
She's been in an emotional tailspin ever since the doctor's arrest in early August. Adams was being treated for breast cancer and went to Dr. Fata at his HematologyOncology Center for a second opinion.
Now, her records and thousands more are in the hands of the Department of Justice.
"I've actually contacted them twice and they just tell me when they locate my records they will contact me and I will have to go downtown to pick them up," said Adams.
Feds working on requests for records
Adams is following the process federal agents have set up to make sure people can get copies of their medical records. There is a message on a Department of Justice hotline that outlines what they need to do. Please read the following information very carefully about how to request medical records.
The basic process works like this, patients with ongoing medical needs will be directed to two phone lines. They will be instructed to leave the patient name, address, phone number and email. Someone from the Department of Justice will call in a day or two to get more information. Then, the FBI will work on retrieving the records and getting them to the patient or the patient's family.
Patients who are in the middle of treatment are being given first priority. If you are a past patient of Dr. Fata, or the family of someone who has passed, you can send your request via email. Those requests will be handled as quickly as possible after those of people who need urgent medical care.
Protecting your own medical records
The case surrounding Dr. Fata is certainly rare, and most patients should not be faced with such a disturbing situation. However, all of you might think about protecting your own medical records.
"It's important to keep a copy of your own medical records when you have complicated medical problems," said Local 4's Dr. Frank McGeorge.
He says having your own copy of your medical records can make things easier if you need a second opinion, change doctors, or seek treatment out-of-state.
"If you have a complicated illness like cancer, you absolutely should have things like your cat scans, MRI's, and even the initial consultation," said the doctor.
While Dr. McGeorge says you should know your medical history and keep important medical records, he says you might not want to spend too much time reading through the complicated medical language.
"You should not over-read them because, frankly, there's a lot of scary words in them. If you over read them you're going to become paranoid and upset. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to turn the interpretation of them over to an expert." said Dr. McGeorge.
Meanwhile, Adams says she won't let this setback stop her fight to beat cancer.
"I'm just believing on God. That's he going to take care of me!"
Department of Justice contact information
Patients who have questions concerning their medical records and/or information regarding this investigation and prosecution can call the United States Attorney's Office Information Line at 888-702-0553.
That hotline will direct you to these two numbers if you are a current patient in the middle of medical treatment 313-496-4348 or 313-226-9633.
If you are a former patient or if your loved one is deceased, you can send an email to email@example.com.
If you do not have access to email, you can use the first two numbers to leave your request.
The Department of Justice also asks that if you call to make a request, do not call again. If you leave multiple messages, there could be overlap and confusion about your request.
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