Retired surgeon admits he lied to protect partner in malpractice lawsuit

A retired surgeon from South Dakota admitted that he lied under oath two decades ago when he testified in a malpractice lawsuit against one of his partners, NPR and ProPublica report.

Lars Aanning, 77, was called to testify to vouch for the expertise of a partner whose patient suffered a stroke and permanent disability following an operation. Aanning said under oath that he had never known his colleague's work to be substandard.

However, Aanning recently admitted that he had lied and published a column in his local newspaper and on ProPublica’s Patient Safety Facebook group detailing his confession.

“I shared my story to give an explicit example of why you can’t always rely on physician testimony in court,” Aaning told NPR. “I think that’s the big reason. There’s got to be a different way to help people who have been medically harmed. Looking to the legal system is like mixing oil and water.”

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