A Reedsport man is suing his doctor for allegedly falsely diagnosing him with cancer.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Douglas County Circuit Court on Feb. 7 by Michael Tash, of Reedsport, seeks up to $2.5 million in economic and noneconomic damages.

The complaint alleges that Dr. Kenneth Lawson, who practices in Reedsport, told Tash he had cancer and suggested surgery after Tash came in with lung problems in February 2016.

“The cancer diagnosis was incorrect and the surgery for cancer performed by (Lawson) was unnecessary and unreasonable performed,” the complaint reads.

The complaint lists six ways Lawson was allegedly negligent, including a failure to check for tuberculosis and a failure to review Tash’s medical history or analyze the results of a bronchoscopy or PET scan, according to court documents.

The surgery caused Tash to sustain pain, suffering and emotional distress, the suit alleges. Tash is seeking $75,907 for the surgery costs and $2.5 million for noneconomic damages.

Lawson received his medical degree at Loma Linda University and has had private surgical practices in Colorado and Oregon, according to Lower Umpqua Hospital’s website. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. The website states he is “the leading surgeon in Oregon performing the EsophyX TIF, an incisionless surgical procedure that provides a lasting solution for heartburn.”

Lawson is also part of a wrongful-death lawsuit that goes to trial in August.

Lower Umpqua Hospital declined to comment.

Tash’s attorney Willard Merkel could not be reached for comment.

Tash was convicted of first-degree burglary in both 1993 and 1996 and has been convicted of several forgery charges dating back to 1992. He also has several convictions for methamphetamine possession.

In 2016, Tash pled no contest to methamphetamine possession and interfering with a peace officer.

Saphara Harrell can be reached at 541-957-4216 or sharrell@nrtoday.com. Or on Twitter @daisysaphara.

React to this story:


Crime and Natural Resources Reporter

Saphara Harrell is the crime and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She previously worked at The World in Coos Bay. Follow her on Twitter @daisysaphara.

(8) comments


If he’s such a great Dr.. why does he have a wrongful death lawsuit against him?

NR Commentor

You obviously don’t know anything about practicing medicine. Even the best doctors occasionally have patients who die. There’s no escaping that. In specialties like surgery or OB, where doctors are constantly seeing very sick or very high risk patients, that happens more often. The riska are even higher with patients who demonstrate extremely high risk behavior, like persistent meth use.


A lawsuit can be filed against anyone for anything. Dr. Lawson has not been proven guilty of anything.

NR Commentor

This is absolutely ridiculous. Dr. Lawson is one of the best doctors around, both in his medical practice and in the way he cares personally for his patients. This is what’s wrong with healthcare today - people looking for any way to make money from what they perceive as the deep pockets of doctors and hospitals. What a completely transparent money-grubber Tash is. Shame on him and whichever lawyer convinced him this was a way to make a quick buck.


Kenneth Lawson is infamous.


you must work in the medical field to say something like that


Sounds like shaky allegations for money


Sounds like Tash just wants Cash! A lobotomy seems more urgent!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.