Nearly 20 years in prison for rogue surgeon

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit-area doctor has been sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for performing poor or unnecessary spinal surgeries in California and Michigan.

Federal Judge Paul Borman ordered the punishment Monday after listening to 14 former patients who told emotional stories about their treatment under Dr. Aria Sabit. Some wore braces or supported themselves with canes. A woman was in a wheelchair.

Borman called it “cruel and unusual punishment.” Sabit had a financial stake in a company that made spinal devices. He worked at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, California, until moving to Michigan in 2011.

Sabit, a native of Afghanistan, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud. He apologized and told the judge that he’s responsible for the pain and suffering.

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