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.