Charlie Teo’s supporters are planning a huge demonstration to try to keep him practicing in Australia after the neurosurgeon was found guilty of misconduct.
Dr Teo said he would move to China after a professional standards committee found ‘catastrophic’ results of surgeries he had performed and imposed restrictions on his registration.
The committee found that he failed to outline the true risks of surgery described as ‘experimental’ and acted unethically by not obtaining informed consent from his patients.
But fans of the embattled surgeon plan to walk across the Sydney Harbor Bridge to show their support, even as he says he may never practice in Australia again.
‘Many have asked what you can do to show your support … Well, I would be honored if you would join me in solidarity on the Sydney Harbor Bridge,’ Dr Teo wrote to supporters on Saturday.
Charlie Teo’s (pictured left with his partner Tracy Griffiths) supporters are planning a huge demonstration to try to keep him practicing in Australia after the neurosurgeon was found guilty of misconduct.
Dr Teo (pictured) said he would move to China after a professional standards committee found ‘catastrophic’ results of surgeries he performed and imposed restrictions on his registration.
He said he had been given special privileges in China and would take his work to hospitals there.
‘I’ve been crucified here, it doesn’t seem to have affected their decision, so I’m going to go over there and check the facilities, to make sure they’re OK, they’ve bought the latest MRI for me,’ he said. The Daily Telegraph.
Some of his former patients are calling on friends and family to walk across the Harbor Bridge with Dr Teo on 17 September.
‘Charlie is flying in from Spain to be there with you because he will never give up,’ read one message posted on social media.
Dr Teo said he chose China because they were ‘committed to me’ and would also continue to perform occasional surgeries in parts of Europe and Southeast Asia.
He said he was ‘but not surprised’ by the conditions placed on his practice, but would ‘never’ admit that he failed to obtain proper consent or lacked compassion for his patients.
‘I am not guilty of what I am accused of, I deny what they say, they do not believe me, so why should I repent of something I deny?’ she said.
Former patient Samantha Halmoukos said she would travel from Melbourne to walk ‘because Charlie saved my life’ by removing a pineal tumor ‘located in the dead center of the brain’.
‘Charlie followed my progress for four years as I needed three more surgeries and intervened when no one else could or would,’ she said.
Ms Halmoukos said Dr Teo had performed three surgeries for free, including one during the Covid restrictions.
Teo (pictured left with partner Tracy Griffiths) said he was considering launching an appeal against the committee’s findings.
‘So I want to take this forward by supporting the Charlie Teo Foundation, a foundation that thinks outside the box,’ he said.
But the family of another former patient, Ellie Middleton, have spoken out about how they say the surgeon made their lives so miserable.
Ms Middleton’s sister, Sarah Bone, a hairdresser from Molong, told the Sydney Morning Herald that she wanted ‘Charlie to come to our house too and see my sister just for one day’.
In December 2008, Dr. Teo told the then 20-year-old and her family that if Ellie was his daughter, he must operate to remove a brain tumor that other neurosurgeons said was inoperable.
The operation was a disaster and for the past 15 years Ellie has spent her days confined to a wheelchair and requiring 24-hour care.
His family said he can’t walk, talk or feed himself and is now blind. His mother, Vicky, said: ‘He has no value in life, none.
At just seven years old, Eli was diagnosed with an astrocytoma, a slow-growing brain tumor that was considered inoperable due to its location.
Despite the family’s skepticism about his ability to operate successfully, Eli convinces his family to take him to Sydney to see the famous neurosurgeon.
‘I remember Charlie saying, if I had a daughter I would have the operation,’ said Mrs Bone.
Ellie Middleton also underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor at the age of 20
The Professional Standards Committee found Teo guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct for an ‘inappropriate’ conversation with a patient’s daughter, an exorbitant fee he charged and other allegations about compliance.
It appeared he told a patient’s daughter ‘You’re asking the wrong question’ and ‘Would I do it again? F****** I swear. You should be grateful.’
Teo faced allegations before the Medical Professional Standards Committee in February that he had decided to operate on two patients where the risks of surgery outweighed the potential benefits of the operation.
It was also alleged that he did not obtain informed consent from patients before surgery, charged a patient an improper fee of $35,000, and spoke inappropriately to that patient’s daughter after surgery.
In its decision announced on Wednesday, the committee said it had ‘found these elements of the allegations’.
Details of Dr. Charlie Teo’s foul-mouthed conversation (pictured) have been revealed
Banned neurosurgeon Charlie Teo (left) pictured with his girlfriend Tracy Griffiths
Restrictions have been imposed on Dr Teo, including the requirement to obtain written permission from a Medical Council-approved neurosurgeon with at least 15 years’ experience as a registered specialist in neurosurgery before performing any ‘malignant intracranial tumor and brain stem tumor surgical procedures’. .
Dr Teo indicated he was considering an appeal against the investigation which effectively ended his career in Australia.
‘I could have appealed, I think I would have won. They will not be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they have accused me because they are not true,’ he said.
‘But I’m not sure I have the strength to appeal. Besides, I don’t have the money to do that.’
The Life and Times of Celebrity Surgeon Charlie Teo
December 24, 1957 – Charlie Teo is born in Sydney, the son of Chinese-Singaporean immigrants.
1981 – Graduated from the University of Sydney and studied at the elite Scots College in Sydney with a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Medicine in Sydney.
From 1982 – Sidney worked in general neurosurgery at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Dallas, Texas and Arkansas, before moving to the US for 10 years, where he became associate professor of neurosurgery and head of pediatric neurosurgery.
1990 – Teo returned to Australia to work at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney and established the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and the Charlie Teo Foundation.
2000 – His fame spread and he became a regular on TV and on the social pages of newspapers
2011 – Awarded Member of the Order of Australia for services to medicine as a neurosurgeon
Charlie Teo returned to Australia in the 90s to work at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney and founded the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and the Charlie Teo Foundation.
2019 – Urologist Henry Wu expresses concern about Mr Teo’s work and the number of GoFundMe campaigns he has run to raise money for surgery, sparking a series of newspaper articles, TV investigations and complaints.
2021 – The NSW Medical Council held a special hearing on Mr Teo which prohibited him from carrying out the operation without special written approval from an experienced neurosurgeon, which he said he could not obtain due to strict restrictions on approving surgeons.
August 2021 – The Healthcare Complaints Commission opens an investigation into two more complaints
September 2022 – HCCC hearing due but postponed
October 2022 – Three new charges against Mr Teo are made to the HCCC
February 13, 2023 – Dr Teo faces HCCC on five charges
July 12, 2023 – He was found guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct.