Charlie Teo became blind to his own mistakes

In the end, hubris and vanity helped controversial neurosurgeon Charlie Teo lose his career in Australia.

Charlie Teo is greeted by supporters as he leaves the final day of a disciplinary inquest in March.

Charlie Teo is greeted by supporters as he leaves the final day of a disciplinary inquest in March.Credit: Nick Moir

The Health Care Complaints Commission’s Professional Standards Committee found him guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct on Wednesday, alleging a lack of insight, empathy and judgment and a failure to adequately explain the risks of the surgeries to patients and families. The committee also ruled that he could not have brain surgery unless he had obtained written approval from an independent neurosurgeon with 15 years of professional experience, which had to be approved by the Medical Association, a change from a previous condition that had been included in Teo’s doctor’s registration was imposed.


While his colleagues’ insurers did not agree to any surgery related to Teo, it also emerged during the February and March disciplinary hearings that no Australian neurosurgeon would provide a reference or letter of support. Even then, the committee’s findings said that HCCC was prepared to give him some exoneration, but the Professional Standards Committee, while acknowledging the onerous obligations that accompanied the appointment of an arbitrator, imposed the amended condition because Teo was not had proved that he had “taken on board”. the views of his peers and reflected appropriately on his practices.

Teo may have brought his end near by telling one of the adjudicating panel members that he was the far more experienced surgeon: “We note that at the hearing the physician reiterated his superior knowledge to (panel member) Associate Professor Andrew Morokoff .’ and his own expert, Professor (Bryant) Stokes, when he said: ‘I have just said that I have more experience of brainstem tumors and their surgery than almost anyone in the world, including Professor Stokes.’

“Given the physician’s firm views on the offer of surgery, expressed during cross-examination, based essentially on his interpretation of patient autonomy and his isolation from his colleagues, we have concluded that the HCCC-proposed health protection condition and safety of the public.”


Lionization blinded Teo to his own mistakes. He became a famous surgeon for performing neurosurgery on patients who other doctors had told them had inoperable tumors. A long list of celebrities, entrepreneurs, actors and sports stars joined him as he fought to save his career in Australia. His public relations campaign against the allegations that brought him before the HCCC was relentless. Not only did he claim to be the subject of a vendetta by jealous colleagues, but a mob of defense attorneys, some saved by the skills of his courageous surgeon, attacked the hearing and the media, particularly the herald.

For his part, Teo admitted that some of his surgeries had yielded terrible results. He frequently said that he is open and transparent with his patients about the risks involved and the high likelihood of further injury and even death.

Justin Scaccy

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