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Lauded Seattle neurosurgeon steps down amid complaints

A prominent Washington neurosurgeon linked to the death of a young spinal surgery patient was also the subject of 49 internal complaints from coworkers at the Cherry Hill campus of Swedish Medical Center Seattle. Per OregonLive.com, the surgeon, who has since resigned, faced allegations by coworkers who were concerned with the quality of care he provided his patients and the frequency with which he performed surgeries.

This is not, however, the first time the surgeon has faced claims of improper patient treatment. Former colleagues at California’s University of Irvine, too, expressed concerns that the physician encouraged unnecessary surgeries and had unreasonably high rates of complications among his patients. He was also the defendant in 12 lawsuits stemming from his stint at the Oregon Health & Science University.

The neurosurgeon’s resignation comes in the wake of a lengthy Seattle Times investigation into Providence Health & Services, one of the nation’s largest hospital networks. The study showed the Cherry Hill campus of Swedish Medical Center Seattle, which was acquired by Providence Health & Services, had physicians performing surgeries that were far more invasive than medically necessary.

Furthermore, the investigation exposed that neurosurgeons at the facility received more money for performing high numbers of especially complicated surgeries, and that the overall quality of patient care at the facility was suffering. The investigation also revealed that specialized medical professionals were encouraged to solicit and attract patients from other areas by touting their specialized skillsets, but the professionals doing the soliciting sometimes played little, if any, role in the actual procedures. 

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