And the decision makers who allow them to, must be held responsible says solicitor Tom Hunter-Leahy.
You just wouldn’t expect that the surgeon operating on you, or perhaps a loved one, in an Australian hospital might have a history of sub-par medical practice. If that was the case, why would they still be allowed to practise?
Catherine Henry Lawyers has recently acted in a matter where a hospital stopped a doctor from carrying out bladder removal surgery due to an unacceptably high mortality rate. Yet the hospital failed to communicate its concerns to other hospitals in the region.
So, the doctor continued performing the surgeries at other locations.
Where lives are in jeopardy, shouldn’t hospitals and state medical boards be culpable when avoidable injury or death happens at the hands of doctors with a previous record of negligence and/or medical board sanctions?
As is often reported in the media, there are many doctors who continue to practise despite a history of sub-par medical practice.
“We need to hold hospitals and medical boards to account when it’s proven that more should have been done to prevent the risk of avoidable injury and death”
One prominent case concerns a doctor who continued to practice and cause harm to patients, despite a history of medical negligence. His name is Dr Graeme Reeves and he is also known as the ‘Butcher of Bega’. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, health authorities were aware of Dr Reeves’ continued negligence for almost 10 years prior to him being deregistered by the medical board.
In another case, Dr Andrew Hugo faced a negligence action after a woman died during child birth in 2010. He was not suspended until 2015, whilst another claim was being investigated following for the stillbirth of a baby in another state.
In 2016, Four Corners and Fairfax ran an investigation into Dr Suresh Nair, a highly paid neurosurgeon with a cocaine addiction. Nepean Public Hospital was aware of the addiction and withdrew Dr Nair’s clinical privileges. However, the NSW Medical Board cleared him to work under controlled conditions and he continued to practice at Nepean Private Hospital.
These are just a few examples of failures to communicate instances of past misconduct and medical negligence amongst hospitals and state medical boards. We need to hold hospitals and medical boards to account when it’s proven that more should have been done to prevent the risk of avoidable injury and death, caused by disgraced and dangerous practitioners.
Perhaps you or someone you know has suffered as a result of suspected medical negligence. If this is the case, our highly experienced Health Law team will investigate your situation and explain your options. Please feel free to contact us on (02) 4929 3995.
Tom Hunter-Leahy is a solicitor in our Health Law team specialising in medical negligence and aged care matters.