Dr. Vishal James Makker: Medically Unnecessary Spinal Fusions

Vishal James Makker -- LIMELIGHT VIDEO
Vishal James Makker — LIMELIGHT VIDEO

By all accounts, Portland neurosurgeon Vishal James Makker is a man who makes a strong impression.  Young and handsome, gracious and articulate, a man with a compelling and charismatic personality.  Among all the neurosurgeons in America, he was singled out by the Wall Street Journal on March 29, 2011, for his professional work.

Unfortunately for his patients, what the press found most compelling about Makker was his number of repeat surgeries.  One luckless patient had six spinal surgeries at the hands of Dr. Makker in less than two years.  Each one seemed to do more harm than good.  Undaunted, Dr. Makker tried to persuade him to try his luck a seventh time.

Dr. Makker has a particular propensity for performing multiple spinal fusions on Medicare patients.  The Journal reported that for “every 100 initial fusions, he performed an additional 39 surgical fusions, the highest rate in the nation” among active surgeons.

In 2006, the Oregon Medical Board issued a complaint against Makker, claiming that he was performing “medically unnecessary” spinal fusions, including operations performed without the consent of his patients.  He was also cited for billing for procedures he had not performed.  Yet Makker was able to resolve the problem by completing a remedial training program and a billing course.

Kafoury & McDougal are presently evaluating Dr. Makker’s surgical performance for a woman who had huge amounts of steel implanted in her cervical spine by Dr. Makker, and was then told by the good doctor that “it looks like we’re going to have to do this again.”  She eventually had a surgery from another neurosurgeon who tried to repair what had been done, but she wound up in the intensive care unit on life support, strapped down on a bed with tubes inserted into her.

Before you let any surgeon work on you, you should check all publicly-available resources to learn what you can about the physician.

UPDATE: For more information on the type of cases our firm handles, click here