Report Finds 62% of Surgeries Performed by Former Osteopath at West Virginia Hospital to Have Been Partly or Totally Unnecessary

As reported by The Charleston Gazette, an expert review of 21 spinal surgeries performed by Dr. John Anderson King in 2002 and 2003 at Putnam General Hospital found 13 of the operations to have been partly or completely unnecessary.

The analysis of King’s surgical records regarding those 21 operations was conducted by Dr. Edgar Dawson from the University of California at Los Angeles.

In his report to Putnam General, Dr. Dawson wrote: "It was my opinion that 13 of 21 patients, based on my review of the preoperative studies, were subjected to, in part or in total, to unnecessary surgery."

Dawson concluded that King’s surgery on one patient "was unnecessary” and that an operation on another patient "was not justified because, according to the MRI [test], there was no pathology in that area of the spine."

Some of Dawson’s findings were challenged during a peer review session at Putnam General, by Dr. Patrick Ryan.  Interestingly, Ryan had instructed King in spinal surgery, while he was under his tutelage for several months at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery, Alabama. While those differences of opinion might have been explored further at a planned second hearing, that hearing was never held and King never testified on his own behalf.

 Based on the evidence it had, the hospital suspended King’s operating privileges on June 3, 2003. Shortly after, King left Putnam General and surrendered his osteopathic license in August 2003. The license was formally revoked by the West Virginia Board of Osteopathy on Feb. 27, 2004.

King’s medical licenses in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas were also revoked or surrendered.
In July or August 2004 King left West Virginia. The West Virginia Board of Osteopathy has been unable to get in touch with him.
Over 100 of King’s former patients, a large number of whom underwent spinal surgery, have filed medical malpractice suits against him and Putnam General.

Dawson’s critiques of King’s surgeries appear in a Michigan Bureau of Health Professions document. It is available on the Ohio medical board web site.

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