DETROIT - When family members of gone but not forgotten patients celebrated outside of federal court after Dr. Farid Fata was denied bond, yet again, oncology nurse Angela Swantek was there celebrating, too.
Three years ago she lodged a formal complaint against Dr. Fata after interviewing for a job at one of his facilities, doing a job shadow and seeing what she called "horrifying" indications that he was running a chemo mill for profit, not for care.
She filed a formal complaint with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs in Lansing and after a year received a formal letter saying after a thorough investigation nothing out of the ordinary was found. The case would be dropped.
On Wednesday, Fata was arraigned on even more charges of fraud. He's been in jail since early August awaiting trial on those fraud charges as well as endangering the lives of his patients by prescribing unnecessary, overly aggressive and fraudulent chemotherapy to patients, some who apparently didn't even have cancer.
Every day, nurse Swantek goes back to that letter she wrote three years ago and wonders how no one found anything sooner, even after she blew the whistle.
Late Wednesday afternoon after I requested a formal on-camera interview with the state investigator who looked into the Fata allegations lodged by nurse Swantek, I was told that the matter is confidential and no one will speak to me. When I reminded the state that the information is kept on record for five years to await other complaints, here's the response I received by email from Jeannie Vogel, Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Office of Communications:
" ... since the allegation was closed without the filing of an administrative complaint, everything about the file is confidential pursuant to MCL 333.16238. We cannot discuss the details of the investigation or who was interviewed. Because the Public Health Code prohibits us from disclosing anything, there is no reason for an interview."
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