Dr Charlie Teo seethes on the stand and makes shock admission while being grilled over whether he cut too far into a patient’s brain – as brain surgeon erupts: ‘I did something wrong … I went too far’
- Dr Charlie Teo grilled at a disciplinary hearing
- He was visibly frustrated and said ‘I went too far’
Star neurosurgeon Charlie Teo has blown up in a disciplinary hearing when repeatedly asked whether he cut into a patient’s brain too much while removing a tumour – and admitted he irreparably ‘damaged’ the woman.
Dr Teo returned to the witness stand in Sydney on Monday for a hearing against the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) into two surgeries he performed that left patients with catastrophic brain injuries.
Both female patients, named Patient A and Patient B, had terminal brain tumours and were given only weeks or months to live. They were both left in vegetative states and passed away soon after Dr Teo performed surgery to remove their tumours.
Dr Teo has a reputation for being a brain surgeon willing to perform risky surgeries and has a legion of supporters, however, has come under fire from members of the medical establishment for his alleged behaviour and surgical practices.
A panel of legal and medical experts is examining Dr Teo’s conduct, including whether he adequately informed his patients of the risks involved.
When the hearing resumed on Monday morning, commission counsel Kate Richardson SC repeatedly asked Dr Teo under cross-examination if he cut into the midline of Patient A’s brain.
Dr Teo returned to the witness stand in Sydney on Monday for a hearing against the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC). He is pictured with is his fiancee Traci Griffiths
She asked whether he accepted that he told the patient’s husband that he did not know where the midline of the brain was and ‘cut across the line and damaged the other side’.
Dr Teo grew visibly frustrated and interjected: ‘Look, we can resolve this – I did something wrong.’
‘Clearly I damaged this lady, and I damaged this lady because I went too far into the brain. Whatever happened, I take full responsibility of that fact that it was my hand, my technique, my doing that she didn’t wake up.
‘The point is, I made an error. A surgical error and I went too far and I made an error. No one’s disputing that.’
Earlier, Dr Teo agreed that operating across the midline was not deliberate, but fired back when asked whether it was an ‘accident’.
‘An accident? You don’t make accidents in surgery. You make an assessment,’ Dr Teo said.
‘It can be difficult to determine where tumour end and normal brain starts.’
However, Dr Teo agreed with Richardson when she asked whether he agreed with an expert’s opinion when he described the surgery as a ‘radical resection’.
Earlier, Dr Teo agreed that operating across the midline was not deliberate, but fired back when asked whether it was an ‘accident’
Ms Richardson then asked whether he deliberately went beyond the enhancing area, which is where the tumour was in Patient A’s brain.
Dr Teo replied: ‘I wanted to stick to the enhancing area but it’s difficult to tell and I sometimes stray.
‘It can be tolerated in some parts of the brain but clearly wan’t in this patient … I think that’s the reason she didn’t recover.’
Earlier on Monday, Associate Professor Andrew Morokoff said it was his assessment that Dr Teo went ‘beyond the midsection of the brain’ when operating on Patient A – but he couldn’t say whether it was deliberate.
‘It would be highly risky and unreasonable to go beyond the tumour,’ he said.
‘In this area, going beyond the enhancing part of the tumour I would consider highly risky.’
However, he told the hearing it was ‘difficult to say’ whether Dr Teo deliberately went beyond the midline because the tumour went across both sides and it can be difficult to tell where the midline is.
‘I don’t know if you can say from the scan what was deliberate wand what was not,’ he said.
The hearing continues.