dr. Charlie Teo defends himself against accusations of being a maverick neurosurgeon

The polarizing neurosurgeon Dr. Charlie Teo has dismissed claims that he operated on the wrong side of a patient’s brain – as his controversial ‘last chance’ surgeries come under fire once again.

dr. Teo, 64, is Australia’s leading brain surgeon, having performed thousands of surgeries on cancer patients who were informed by other doctors that their tumors were inoperable.

But while he has saved lives, Dr. Teo has also been criticized as a ‘misfit’ who charges hefty sums of money and has been slammed by the NSW Medical Council with restrictions preventing him from performing some surgeries.

“I’ve made mistakes, but I’m annoyed by the claim that my patients have done poorly,” Dr. Teo to Tracy Grimshaw of A Current Affair in an interview Tuesday night.

“They have always been at the forefront of my approach to medicine.”

‘Maverick’ brain surgeon Charlie Teo (above with his partner and former patient, Traci Griffiths) to face a disciplinary hearing over the results of some of his surgeries

Grimshaw described him as the most loved or hated surgeon in the country and asked Dr. Teo or ‘the real Charlie Teo is a cowboy with a God complex or a hero who pushes the margins of convention’.

She presented him with several allegations that were broadcast Sunday night by 60 Minutes – Dr. Teo rejected a former patient’s claims that he was operating on the wrong side of her brain.

Michelle Smith had a tumor removed from the right side of her brain that was causing her epilepsy. She claimed 60 minutes into the weekend that Dr. Teo had surgery on her left side.

Ms Smith argued that MRI scans, ordered 11 years later by another surgeon – after her epilepsy returned – showed clear markings on either side of her brain, one where her tumor was located and another where the surgery had been performed.

“A phone call would have clarified that story,” said Dr. Teo, who argued that neurosurgeons simply cannot operate on the ‘wrong’ side of a patient’s brain.

dr. Teo said what he performed was a standard technique and that the MRI only shows the entry point of the keyhole surgery.

“The tumor was in an area where the best approach was from the other side, so even though the tumor is on the right, you’re operating on the left because it gives you access.”

dr. Teo (pictured) told Tracy Grimshaw that people should ‘walk a mile in his shoes’ and that he carries a ‘cemetery’ of patients with him

‘Second, we use an automated guidance system, which allows you to locate the tumor very well, and you cannot operate on the wrong side of the brain.’

He argued that Ms. Smith’s epilepsy returned because he left some of the tumor in her body, as it was abnormal and too dangerous to remove.

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An arrogant cowboy surgeon would have gone, ‘Okay, I can just take it out’ and just poke around and try to find it and cause paralysis.

“Fortunately, I withdrew, because she woke up with no paralysis – no neurological disorder.

‘It turned out that a minor operation did indeed stop procedures for quite some time. After that, she was off the epilepsy medication for 11 years.’

The decision to pay Ms. Smith a no plea bargain was made by the insurance company and not his, he added.

Famous ‘last chance’ brain surgeon Dr. Charlie Teo performs surgeries on Australians in hospitals overseas after restrictions imposed in this country

Tracy Grimshaw (pictured) described Dr. Teo as Australia’s most loved or hated surgeon

Grimshaw asked Dr. Teo also asks whether his surgeries are worth “giving it a chance” if a possible consequence is that a patient could be paralyzed or suffer brain damage.

A visibly emotional Dr. Teo replied, “If you could walk a mile in my shoes.”

“Not to be derogatory, but if they (patients and families) make a decision and the outcome isn’t what they want, they like to blame someone.”

‘It affects me terribly. Sometimes I just sit downstairs and sob.’

‘Everything can be seen clearly afterwards.’

The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission ordered a two-day disciplinary hearing on the negative results of two of Dr. teo.

The NSW Medical Council has appointed Dr. Teo prohibited performing high-risk brain surgery without the written consent of another neurosurgeon.

The ban will remain in effect until a hearing later this year.

The interview may well be one of Grimshaw’s last as the host of A Current Affair. Her final show will air next month after 17 years as a presenter.


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