JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — In a story Dec. 7 about the sentencing of a doctor and two others in a cancer clinic fraud case in Mississippi, The Associated Press erroneously attributed a quote to U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III. The quote was from Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Gilbert, who said: "It's a very small thing to send this woman to jail for the next 20 years when you compare it to the damage she has done."
A corrected version of the story is below:
Doctor gets 20 years in Miss. cancer center fraud
Doctor gets 20 years, ordered to repay nearly $8.2M in Mississippi chemotherapy fraud case
By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge on Friday sentenced a doctor to 20 years in prison and ordered her to repay nearly $8.2 million for fraud at a former Mississippi cancer center she ran. U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III said he was "appalled" at how Dr. Meera Sachdeva treated patients at a vulnerable time of their lives.
Syringes were re-used and different patients' chemotherapy drugs were drawn from the same bag at Rose Cancer Center in the small town of Summit, Jordan said. He said prosecutors were unable to prove drugs were watered down, as they originally believed.
"It's a very small thing to send this woman to jail for the next 20 years when you compare it to the damage she has done," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Gilbert.
Sachdeva, 50, declined to speak in court Friday. Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and shackled around her waist and at her ankles, she showed little emotion and did not turn to look at several former patients or their families who were in the courtroom.
Sachdeva founded Rose Cancer Center in Summit in 2005. She pleaded guilty July 13 to one count of health care fraud and two counts of making false statements. Prosecutors said she submitted claims for chemotherapy services that were supposedly given while she was out of the country.
Jordan also sentenced two others in the case Friday.
The clinic's office manager, Brittany McCoskey, 26, of Monticello, was sentenced to 13 months in prison and ordered to help pay $55,069 in restitution. She previously pleaded guilty May 17 to making false statements.
McCoskey said Friday she knew about a bone marrow biopsy being done by a phlebotomist, whose job is collecting blood. The biopsy should've been done by a doctor. McCoskey said she knew it was wrong but she didn't report it to authorities because, she said, "I was afraid of losing my job."
Prosecutors said McCoskey blocked nurses from calling ambulances for patients who needed emergency care, and sent away a technician who went to the clinic to repair an important piece of medical equipment. They said she also falsified records.
"I know what I did was wrong, and if I could change all of this I would," McCoskey said, her voice rising as she sobbed.