Embattled neurosurgeon Charlie Teo has declared he will soon be leaving the country to perform brain surgeries in China, as the family of one of his patients speaks out.
A Professional Standards Committee on Wednesday found surgeries performed by Dr Teo had ‘disastrous’ outcomes, placing restrictions on the doctor’s registration in its decision.
The Committee found Teo had failed to outline the real risks of his surgeries, which were described as ‘experimental,’ and was found to have behaved unethically in not obtaining informed consent from his patients before surgery.
Teo has since revealed he has been granted privileges in China and will be taking his work to hospitals there.
Charlie Teo said he will perform brain surgeries in China following adverse findings against him in Australia
‘The fact that I have been crucified over here, didn’t appear to affect their decision, so I am going over there to check the facilities, make sure they are good, they just bought the latest MRI for me,’ he told the Daily Telegraph.
Dr Teo said he chose China because they had ‘committed to me’, and would also continue to do perform occasional surgeries in Europe and parts of Southeast Asia.
Dr Teo said he was disappointed ‘but not surprised’ by conditions placed upon his practice, however would ‘never’ accept that he failed to gain proper consent or that he lacked empathy for his patients.
‘I am not guilty of what I am accused of, I reject what they say I have done, they just don’t believe me, so why would I show remorse for something that I deny?’ he said.
Meanwhile, the devastated family of one of Teo’s patients, Ellie Middleton, have broken their silence on how Teo’s operation has changed their lives.
Ms Middleton’s sister, Sarah Bone, a hairdresser from Molong, told the Sydney Morning Herald that she wished for ‘Charlie Teo to come to our house and look after my sister for just one day’.
Ellie Middleton was 20 when Teo performed surgery to remove a brain tumour
In December 2008, Teo told the then-20-year-old and her family that if Ellie was his daughter, he would definitely have the operation to remove her brain tumour that other neurosurgeons had said was inoperable.
The operation was a disaster and for the past 15 years Ellie has spent her days bound to a wheelchair and needs 24-hour care.
Her family said she is unable to walk, talk or feed herself, and is now blind.
‘She has no quality of life, none,’ her mother Vicki said.
At just seven, Ellie had been diagnosed with an astrocytoma, a slow-growing brain tumour that was regarded as inoperable due to its location.
Ellie had persuaded her family to take her to Sydney to see the famous neurosurgeon despite the family’s hesitation about his ability to operate successfully.
‘I remember Charlie saying, if it was my daughter, I would do the operation,’ Ellie’s sister said.
Teo has hinted he was considering an appeal against a the inquiry finding that has effectively ended his career in Australia.
‘I could appeal, I think I would win. They wouldn’t be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the things they have accused me of because they are not true, he said.
‘But I’m not sure I have the strength to run an appeal. Furthermore, I don’t have the money to do so.’
Teo (pictured left with partner) said he is considering launching an appeal against the committee’s findings
The Professional Standards Committee found Teo was guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct over an ‘inappropriate’ conversation with a patient’s daughter, an exorbitant fee he charged, and other complaints about consent.
It was found he told a patient’s daughter that ‘You’re asking the wrong f****** question’ and ‘Would I do it all over again? F****** oath I would. You should be grateful.’
Teo appeared before the Medical Professional Standards Committee in February to face complaints that he decided to operate on two patients where the risk of surgery outweighed any potential benefits of the operation.
It was also alleged that he did not obtain informed consent from the patients before the surgery, charged an inappropriate fee of $35,000 to one patient and spoke inappropriately to that patient’s daughter after the surgery.
In its decision announced on Wednesday the committee said it ‘found these elements of the complaint proven’.
Restrictions have been placed on Teo, including a requirement to obtain written permission from a Medical Council-approved neurosurgeon with at least 15 years’ experience as a registered specialist in neurosurgery before he performs any ‘malignant intracranial tumour and brain stem tumour surgical procedures’.