A Napa surgeon is being investigated by the state medical board for alleged negligence while treating a prison inmate.

Dr. Wendell Wenneker, of the Surgery Group of Napa Valley, may face disciplinary action after being accused of failing to provide appropriate care to a patient with a polyp.

The accusation was filed by the Medical Board of California on Jan. 2 and stems from Wenneker’s treatment of a 57-year-old male prison inmate. The patient had undergone a colonoscopy at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville. After a polyp was found, he was referred for surgery to Queen of the Valley Medical Center.

In July 2010, Wenneker performed the surgery to remove the polyp, but due to alleged acts or omissions — including failure to obtain the colonoscopy report — Wenneker failed to locate the polyp.

According to the state medical board, neither the patient nor the doctor who performed the colonoscopy were aware that the polyp had not been removed. Wenneker allegedly had concerns he had missed the polyp but failed to convey those concerns, according to the board.

The polyp was rediscovered during another colonoscopy one year later.

Wenneker performed a second surgery on the patient in August 2011, and the removed polyp showed markings made during the original colonoscopy in June 2010.

Wenneker could not be reached for comment by the Register’s press deadline on Monday. He has not had a hearing or been found guilty of any charges.

Wenneker was issued his Physician’s and Surgeon’s Certificate by the Medical Board of California in July 1978. That license will expire this November unless renewed.

If Wenneker is found guilty under the Medical Practice Act, his license may be revoked or suspended, or he may be subject to other disciplinary action, such as being placed on probation.

Wenneker is entitled to dispute the charges at an administrative hearing, which closely resembles a court trial and is presided over by an administrative law judge.

The Medical Board of California, made up of physicians and the public, will make the final decision on any disciplinary action. Physicians have the right to appeal the final decision.

(5) comments


This is ridiculous we have growing list of unfit attorney’s from drunkards to woman beating drunkards whose mistakes have ruined dozens of clients and nary a word in the NVR….then something like this comes along where no harm came making it like someone was harmed….
This state has a serious problem with misplaced priorities…those who caused this mess will stop at nothing to keep their frivolous litigation alive and well


Is malpractice inevitable?

Corey Laker

No good deed goes unpunished.

Napa Mark

Agreed, Corey - You just can't get good free health care while you're in prison anymore.It's a good thing our intrepid state officials are seeking justice for this poor inmate. Clearly these are tax dollars well spent.There will be plenty of other physicians who are willing to treat the prison population.


Is medical malpractice inevitable? What can a patient do to lower his/her risk of medical malpractice?

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