Spinal surgery is about as high-stakes as surgeries can get. There’s no reason to recommend that someone undergo such an invasive and dangerous operation if it’s not absolutely necessary– and yet that’s just what Dr. Jason Dreyer is accused of doing, for profit.
Dr. Dreyer, a neurosurgeon at the MultiCare Rockwood Clinic Neurosurgery and Spine Center in Spokane, had his license suspended by the Washington Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery on March 12. He has until April 1 to appeal the decision, and during that time, he’s not able to perform any surgeries.
Under the right circumstances, a pattern of unnecessary surgeries like this could be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. In fact, a former patient who suffered from further injury to her spine and spinal nerves as a result of a risky surgery is suing Dr. Dreyer for negligent and unnecessary surgery.
Below, experienced medical malpractice attorney Bill Gilbert analyzes the situation from an expert’s perspective, and offers some thoughts on how to hold surgeons who abuse their position like Dr. Dreyer accountable.
All doctors have a duty of care to not cause further harm to their patients. If they breach this duty of care, they may be liable for medical malpractice.
There are many types of negligent acts that can be considered medical malpractice, from intentional harm to thoughtless mistakes. Under some circumstances, pressuring a patient to undergo dangerous and unnecessary surgery could be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Here are a few examples of situations that might fall under this category:
- a misdiagnosis that results in a surgery not needed for the patient’s condition or illness
- a surgical mistake such as operating on the wrong part of the body
- operating on a patient without their informed consent
- recommending surgery that is not medically necessary for financial gain
The most important thing for a plaintiff and their attorney to do in a medical malpractice case is demonstrate that the medical professional acted negligently, and breached their duty of care to their patient.
Allegations against Dr. Dreyer
On March 15, Cyde Estes, a former patient of Dr. Dreyer’s, filed a “medical malpractice action for damages caused by an unnecessary and negligent surgery” against Dr. Dreyer.
Estes alleges that the surgery caused permanent neurological damage to her lower spine and has resulted in severe pain and a loss of mobility.
In addition to recommending she undergo a surgery that she now views as medically unnecessary, Estes claims that Dr. Dreyer billed her for procedures that he never actually performed during the surgery.
Clyde Estes’s account of her experiences could easily establish that Dr Dreyer’s actions were motivated by a financial incentive to perform surgeries on as many patients as possible.
Another former patient, while not currently involved in a medical malpractice lawsuit, reported to KREM2 a similar experience of feeling pressured to undergo a surgery he was not comfortable with.
According to Aws Alwater, Dr. Dreyer emphasized the potential benefits of his surgery and downplayed its risks when advising him on how to treat his back injury.
If Alwater’s account is true, Dr. Dreyer could potentially be liable for operating on a patient without their informed consent.
Contact a Spokane medical malpractice attorney if you have claims against Dr. Dreyer
At the Gilbert Law Firm, we don’t have all the facts yet. We only know what’s in the papers and public court documents. But from where we’re sitting, it looks like Dr. Dreyer has been taking advantage of his position as a respected neurosurgeon to push unnecessary spinal surgeries on his patients for financial gain.
Our team of medical malpractice attorneys has experience with holding negligent doctors like Dr. Dreyer accountable and making sure our clients are compensated for their injuries.
If you had an experience with Dr. Dreyer, or with any medical professional that you believe acted in a negligent way, don’t hesitate to contact us and schedule a free consultation as soon as possible.