‘I’m here because of him’: People rally in Sydney to support neurosurgeon Charlie Teo

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One of Australia’s most well-known neurosurgeons, Dr Charlie Teo, was greeted by a large crowd of supporters today when he arrived for a fifth, and possibly final day, of a Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) hearing in Sydney.

Amongst the crowd of people were patients and family members wearing T-shirts and carrying signs in support of the surgeon as he faces the potential of restrictions and sanctions on his practising certificate.

Greek Australian, Kathy Samios, was one of the supporters in attendance. She has been treated by Dr Teo ever since she was diagnosed with a brain tumour over 20 years ago.

“I am here because of him,” Ms Samios tells The Greek Herald.

“He’s the only one who will treat me… He’s a good man and he has given me hope. He’s given a lot of people hope.”

Kathy Samios (left) with other Dr Charlie Teo supporters.

Dr Teo is currently facing two complaints of “unsatisfactory conduct” related to the care of two female patients who had aggressive, late-stage brain cancers.

The husband of Patient A – a 41-year-old mother from Western Australia – claims Dr Teo did not tell him and his wife all the risks associated with the removal of her high grade brain stem glioma during a consultation. Dr Teo told her he could remove the brain tumour with a “5 percent” risk of death.

She was told she had an average of six months to live and walked into surgery “cognitively sharp” and able to walk. However, she did not regain consciousness and was left in a vegetative state before she died in March 2019.

The husband of Patient B – a 61-year-old Victorian grandmother – claimed Dr Teo ”acted negligently” and removed “too much” of his wife’s brain.

Neurosurgery experts in the hearing were of the opinion Dr Teo did remove an “unorthodox” amount of healthy tissue – though one said that was normal practice for brain surgeons.

Dr Charlie Teo outside court in Sydney.

These complaints are being heard by the Professional Standards Committee — a low-level, usually confidential disciplinary body run by the state’s medical fraternity.

It will decide whether to uphold, or extend restrictions already placed on Dr Teo’s medical licence, which prevent him operating in Australia without the written consent of an approved neurosurgeon.

Dr Teo has denied any wrongdoing and thanked his former patients for their support outside the hearing on Monday.

“Thank you very, very much for turning up, it’s overwhelming. This whole thing has been very emotionally taxing,” Dr Teo said to his crowd of supporters.

“No matter what happens to me personally I will pledge to you today that we will continue to fight for a cure and treatment for brain cancer.”

Source: The Daily Telegraph, ABC News.

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