South Dakota Neurosurgeon Made Millions of Dollars Performing Unnecessary Surgeries, Feds Say

Neurosurgeon Sued for Performing Unnecessary and Dangerous Surgeries to Enrich Himself

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Federal prosecutors say a South Dakota neurosurgeon made millions of dollars by performing unnecessary and dangerous surgeries, including one which left a patient partially paralyzed.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the doctor, federal prosecutors argue that Dr. Wilson Asfora enriched himself by using medical devices he invented during surgeries and receiving kickbacks from companies whose devices he used without disclosing the arrangements.

Asfora is alleged to have implanted the devices when he performed complex surgeries that shouldn’t have been done, and that left at least one patient partially paralyzed.

Authorities said that the doctor “received numerous warnings that he was performing medically unnecessary procedures which were ‘excessive,’ ‘quite aggressive,’ and went ‘against conventional neurosurgical teaching and practice,’ with the devices in which he had a financial interest.”

Asfora worked for Sanford Medical Center and Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, where he allegedly sold the devices at enormous markups.

Reportedly, Sanford Health settled a lawsuit of $20 million in penalties after it was accused of allowing Asfora to defraud the government millions of dollars.

Sanford Health said in a statement that Asfora is no longer employed by the health system, and the lawsuit allegations are solely between Dr. Asfora and the federal government.