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Inside neurosurgeon Charlie Teo’s Sydney disciplinary hearing

Charlie Teo is not only Australia’s most famous neurosurgeon. He’ll tell you yourself, he’s the best.

At a disciplinary hearing in Sydney on Thursday, after hearing four days of evidence from the bereaved husband and dissident associates, he said:

The panel wanted to know why a 65-year-old man chose surgery for a brain stem tumor. His two other surgeons in Western Australia decided it was too risky to remove.

“I have more experience than most anyone in the world,” he told the room, his voice rising slightly in frustration.

“If you look at the literature on brain stem tumors, the largest series has been written by me. Most neurosurgeons don’t understand this.”

Dr. Teo said at the hearing that he has more experience than most people in the world.(Facebook: Charlie Theo Foundation)

Neither of the two deceased patients at the center of the complaint against Dr. Teo can be identified.

However, both of them are women and sought out a renowned neurosurgeon to perform a very aggressive operation on a brain tumor after other surgeons declined.

One of the women approached Dr Theo in October 2018 when he flew from Western Australia to Sydney for “desperately” seeking help.

When Charlie Theo saw an MRI of the woman’s tumor, he said it was likely “focal” or contained mostly on one side of the brain, with a “5%” risk of death. I told her I could remove it.

Two neurosurgeons called as expert witnesses to the study interpreted the scans very differently.

They agreed that the tumor cells were likely already on the other side of the brain, and surgery could carry a perhaps 60% risk of death, or severe neurological loss.

A blond woman and a bald man in a suit talking to the media next to the courthouse building
Complaints against Dr. Theo are being reviewed by a Professional Standards Board.(ABC News: Isobel Roe)

Dr. Teo acknowledged that the surgery had been a disaster and admitted to the committee that he could have been wrong.

The woman never fully woke up. At best, she managed to write a few nonsensical sentences on her whiteboard before her death in March 2019.

When a Western Australian surgeon was informed of what had happened, he told the woman’s husband that he had made a “ridiculous decision” to see Dr Theo.

“[Dr Teo] It gave us a lot of hope.” said the husband.

The neurosurgeon’s transparency for two patients is under scrutiny after the family of a woman in Western Australia and another deceased woman’s family filed a complaint with the NSW Health Care Complaints Board.

Complaints are reviewed by a Professional Standards Board. This is a low-level, usually secret, disciplinary body run by state medical fraternity.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-02-18/four-days-neurosurgeon-charlie-teo-sydney-disciplinary-hearings/101989114 Inside neurosurgeon Charlie Teo’s Sydney disciplinary hearing

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