Dr. Asfora sues Sanford Health for ‘wrongful termination’

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — There’s another lawsuit in the Doctor Wilson Asfora and Sanford Health saga.

This time, Dr. Asfora is suing Sanford, claiming, among other things, that he was wrongfully fired.

Asfora is seeking punitive damages to be determined by a jury.

KELOLAND Investigates dug through the court documents for the latest chapter.

The accusations against Dr. Asfora began in 2011, when a clinical director filed a complaint against Asfora and his colleagues in the neurosurgical department.

The government declined to intervene, but according to Asfora’s complaint, that’s when Dr. Brian Wellman turned against him.

Court papers say he was one of the doctors who sent an anonymous letter to the South Dakota Board of Medical Examiners.

Asfora’s lawsuit claims that letter made false accusations concerning Dr. Asfora’s medical practice, the care and treatment of patients and the use of his medical devices that his companies manufactured and sold to Sanford Health.

The document goes on to say that Dr. Asfora believed he worked in a hostile work environment with unlawful retaliation and Sanford knew it was happening.

A lawsuit unsealed in 2019 said, Dr. Asfora was making millions of dollars by defrauding the federal government while performing back surgeries on patients that were unnecessary.

Last June, Sanford Health responded by supporting Dr. Asfora. In a statement to KELOLAND Investigates, Sanford said ‘the allegations by two doctors are were meritless and bogus. Dr. Wilson Asfora is an exceptionally talented surgeon who provides excellent care to his patients.’

But in August, Dr. Asfora was terminated and told his last day working for the health care system would be September.

In his 35-page lawsuit, Dr. Asfora claims Sanford coerced him into a settlement in order to keep out of the public eye facts about other physicians and its dysfunctional neurosurgical department would cast it in a negative light and may imperil its merger discussions with Unity Health.

In October, Sanford Health agreed to pay more than $20 million to the federal government in a settlement for kickback schemes involving Asfora’s medical devices.

If you’d like to read Asfora’s lawsuit in its entirety, we’ve posted it here.

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