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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A retired South Dakota surgeon who is now a patient advocate will surrender his medical license rather than participate in a revocation hearing.

The south Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners was set to hold a hearing Oct. 27 to revoke Dr. Lars Aanning’s medical license after accusing him of committing “moral turpitude,” the Argus Leader reported .

Aanning, 78, admitted last year to lying on behalf of another physician during a medical malpractice lawsuit nearly 20 years ago. He said he was coached by the doctor’s lawyers on what to say and how to answer questions.

The statute of limitations for perjury has passed, but the board accused Aanning of violating the public’s trust by damaging the faith in doctors to be truthful. But Aanning said it is commonplace for doctors to protect their colleagues when medical errors occur.

Aanning said the board pursued his license because he helped expose shoddy medicine in a separate case.

“I can’t help but feel that this is an attempt to curtail my investigative activities,” he said.

Aanning helped expose Dr. Allen Sossan, a convicted burglar-turned-spine surgeon who practiced in Yankton. Sossan fled the U.S. after being sued by dozens of patients after botching several surgeries that in some cases led to the deaths of patients. A grand jury indicted Sossan for lying on his medical license by not disclosing his previous conviction.

“Almost 10 years ago, I reported Alan Sossan to the SDBMOE for harming — even killing — patients, and the SDBMOE never lifted a finger to prevent him from inflicting more harm on South Dakotans,” Aanning said. “My complaint does not appear to have even been investigated by the SDBMOE. The license of this doctor was never restricted or suspended and when his license finally elapsed, nothing further was done to protect patients in other states.”

Margaret Hansen, the board’s executive director, said the board still needs to accept the surrender of Aanning’s license.

“It’s in their hands,” Aanning said. “I’m not going to go to any hearing.”


Information from: Argus Leader,