Indicted Detroit-area cancer doctor's patients met by high cost for medical records

Dr. Farid Fata faces health care fraud charge; patients, families now left with mess of questions

By Guy Gordon - Reporter/Anchor

PONTIAC, Mich. -

Alleged victims of Dr. Farid Fata say they feel like some area hospitals are victimizing them again.

They are seeking medical records for their loved ones treated by the indicted cancer doctor. However, they were shocked to learn how much those records would cost them.

Cheryl Blades' mother Nancy was under Fata's care for 5 years before dying of a brain hemorrhage. She wonders if the chemo therapy did it. Blades requested the records from Crittendon Hospital and found at more than $1 a page it was more than she could afford.

"I lost my best friend. I need answers to find out did she leave us because of what Dr. Fata did? Was is it because she was sick?" Blades said.

She's not alone. Jeff Berz got a bill for $1,000. He said "there's a point where you put money aside and help people."

Diane Sawgle said "charging me for information my husband paid his life for? How dare they."

It was a hot topic when the alleged victims and their families gathered last week. Crittendon says an outside firm does the work, not the hospital, that it's not a money-maker and that it must treat all patients equally, whether Fata was their doctor or not.

Read back: Fata patients gather for mutual support

"For continuation of care there is no charge. For personal reasons, or lawyers, there is," the hospital's policy reads.

In other words, if the patient is still alive, a records transfer to a new doctor is free, and that's no help to Blades.

"I'm not looking to make money on this. I just want to know what happened to my mom," she said.

However, other hospitals make no distinction about whether the records are for patients alive or dead. Saint Joseph Mercy is providing the records without charge. The hospital says it wants to freely and quickly get theses records to families in this very challenging time.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.