Unconscious in hospital lavatory for 21 hours

SYDNEY:  A man who suffered a stroke in a lavatory in Royal North Shore Hospital, one of Sydney’s busiest hospitals, was not found by staff until the next day.

Officials at RNSH have confirmed that the man, 67, was found by a cleaner in a public toilet in its Outpatients’ Department.  He had gone unnoticed by staff for 21 hours.

On Wednesday the 67-year-old North Shore man was in a critical condition in the same hospital with his family by his bedside.

An urgent inquiry has been ordered into how the man, who arrived at the hospital for a medical appointment at 0930 on Monday 10 August 2015, ended up not being noticed by staff.

When he did not return home from the appointment his concerned wife called the hospital, Channel 9 reported last night.  She was told by staff that her husband had not turned up for the scheduled appointment and they had no idea of his whereabouts.

At 0630 on Tuesday, 11 August, a cleaner found the unconscious man in the Outpatients public lavatory.

Left alone

Health Minister Jillian Skinner on Wednesday night said: This is a distressing case and I extend my sympathy to this gentleman and his family. The hospital immediately amended its end of day shutdown processes to include a review of public toilets in outpatient areas,” she said.

Andrew Montague, of RNS,H told Channel 9 that a review of CCTV footage shows the man arriving at RNSH on Monday morning.

“But we weren’t aware that he actually turned up to the Outpatients departments,” Dr Montague said.

When nurses close the department each day they only check the waiting and medical areas and not the lavatories.

“I’d describe it as something you’d never want to see, but we need to make sure we look after the gentleman now”.

In 2007 a woman, 14 weeks pregnant, miscarried in a public lavatory at RNSH, leading to a public inquiry into the public health system.

Lorraine Long, from the Medical Error Action Group, on Wednesday night said the hospital system is under staffed.

“The person was not at a bus terminal, the person was in a hospital,” she said.


The 67-year-old man died Friday, 14 August 2015, in the same hospital where he was neglected, after never regaining consciousness.

Dodgy dentists expose patients to HIV Hep C


Here we go again —

SYDNEY:  TWELVE dentists in four Sydney practices are under investigation for hygiene breaches which have potentially exposed 12,000 people to blood-borne infection.

NSW Health says instruments in the practices “were not cleaned, sterilised or stored” in accordance with guidelines set by the Dental Board of Australia.

It’s recommending patients who have had an invasive procedure at the practices in the past 10 years be tested for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, although it’s stressed the risk is low.

The affected practices are Dr Samson Sing CHAN of The Gentle Dentist clinics in Campsie and central Sydney, and Dr Robert STARKENBURG’s practices at Bondi Junction and Surry Hills.

Anyone who’s had “any procedure” at Dr Starkenburg’s practices – which have been closed – should be tested, NSW Health says.

The Dental Council of NSW says in a statement that it’s suspended the registration of Dr Samson Sing Chan, and four other dentists at his practices, with a further six dentists having conditions imposed on their registration.

Dr Starkenburg was suspended from practice last December, the council says.

The 12 dentists have been referred to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission.

MEAG COMMENT:  Who is policing our medical professionals?  For self-regulation is still not working.

Medical errors cost taxpayers $50m in claims

NEW SOUTH WALES:  HUNTER New England Health has paid out almost $50million in taxpayer funds over the past three years for medical mistakes ranging from emergency department failures to major obstetrics blunders.

Among eight multimillion-dollar payouts was an $11.2million settlement for obstetrics negligence made in the past financial year.  Another obstetrics and gynaecology case cost $8.4million while a pathology error cost $4.3million.

Documents obtained under the Government Information (Public Access) Act show 115 negligence claims were completed at an average cost of $431,282.

They cover areas including emergency medicine, nursing, obstetrics and gynaecology, orthopaedic surgery, neurology and plastic surgery.

The payments, made from Treasury-Managed Funds, reflect a growing trend among aggrieved patients who are choosing to sue when they experience an adverse outcome.

‘‘People are saying I don’t accept what you did and you need to be accountable. It’s not about the money,’’ Medical Error Action Group founder Lorraine Long said.

‘‘I don’t think people are more litigious, but I think they are more aware of their rights.’’

Specific case details could not be obtained, however, typical medical negligence claims relate to incorrect diagnosis, incorrect treatment and procedural and surgical errors.

Ms Long said many people who were forced to pursue their claim over a period of years became victims of secondary trauma.

‘‘It can take seven to eight years in some cases and they [doctors and health services] fight you tooth and nail and run up huge expenses in the process,’’ she said.

‘‘The compensation is really just reimbursement for the money they [the patients] have outlaid.’’


SOURCE:  Newcastle Herald, by Matthew Kelly, 31.05.2015


Disgraced surgeon Patel banned for life

A QUEENSLAND judge has barred disgraced Bundaberg surgeon Jayant PATEL from practising medicine in Australia, highlighting his lack of integrity, honesty and trustworthiness.

Dr PATEL was today permanently banned from registration as a health professional in the country by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) brought disciplinary action against him on nine grounds, including four related to false and misleading material being used in his 2003 registration application.

The remaining five grounds involved medical procedures – four which were performed despite a “clinically inappropriate increased level of risk to the patient”.

The tribunal found all nine grounds were warranted.

The MBA was not told that in 2000, US health authorities in Oregon had banned Dr PATEL from performing pancreatic and liver surgeries and forced him to obtain second opinions before complicated operations.

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren said Dr PATEL appeared undeterred by his previous disciplinary experiences.

“These matters strike at the very heart of the system of registration by which it is intended that only those truly suitable and competent to do so are permitted to practise in health professions,” he said.

“One could have little, if any, confidence that he would ever in the future possess the qualities of integrity, honesty and trustworthiness so essential for the practice of medicine.”

Judge Horneman-Wren found Dr PATEL’s “apparently cavalier preparedness to disregard … the potential serious consequences of his fraud upon others” was troubling.

He noted that some of the surgeries, along with their “tragic consequences”, would not have eventuated if Dr PATEL sought second opinions.

The MBA said the orders will have far-reaching repercussions.

“This serious adverse finding will now be on the public record and accessible to all international medical regulators to whom Dr PATEL may apply for registration,” it said in a statement.

“The board persisted with disciplinary action to protect the public, manage risk to patients and uphold the high standards of medical profession the medical profession.”

Dr PATEL moved back to Oregon in 2013 after he was handed a two-year suspended sentence for fraudulently gaining employment in Queensland.

His criminal convictions for three counts of manslaughter and one of grievous bodily harm were overturned on appeal earlier that year.

Dr PATEL, ordered to pay the MBA’s legal costs, did not return to Australia to attend Friday’s hearing.

Medical board system abuses patients

A doctor who was abused as a child by GP says system is skewed against victims.

The victim, now a doctor, tells royal commission he was shocked that paedophile doctor John ROLLESTON could continue practising medicine after sexual abuse came to light.

A senior doctor, who was sexually abused as a child by a GP, has said the profession’s response to complaints is grossly inadequate and skewed in favour of doctors.

The doctor was sexually molested by John ROLLESTON in the 1970s at a private practice in St Ives, Sydney.

The doctor, known by the pseudonym “AWF” at a royal commission hearing where he is giving evidence, said after reading of ROLLESTON’s arrest in 2011, he did further research.

AWF said he found out ROLLESTON had been prohibited by the NSW Medical Board in 2009 from providing any medical service to patients between 11 and 18 years of age.  The Board became the Medical Council of NSW in 2010.

AWF said when he was abused for a second time by ROLLESTON he was outside that age range set by the Board.

“I remember feeling shocked and angry that ROLLESTON was allowed to continue practising medicine,” he said.

He said on Thursday he was a patient of ROLLESTON from the ages of 13 to 20.

AWF had studied as an intern at the Royal North Shore Hospital in St Leonards, Sydney, and found that by then ROLLESTON was a senior doctor there.

He said he avoided him and did not raise the subject of child sexual abuse because he feared in those days it would “have more serious professional repercussions for me than for ROLLESTON”.

AWF said when he saw the limited restrictions the Medical Board had placed on ROLLESTON he was concerned he could continue abusing people.

The commission is hearing from seven people who were victims of ROLLESTON’s abuse at private practices in Sydney and at the Royal North Shore Hospital.

ROLLESTON was deregistered in 2013 – two years after he was jailed and can reapply to practise again after four years, i.e. 2017.

He is now 79, has been granted parole and is in poor health.

“For the habitual nature of the most serious of allegations against ROLLESTON, the conditions imposed by the NSW Medical Board and Medical Tribunal on his continual medical practice, were I believe, were grossly inadequate and not in the best interests of the complainants,” AWF told the commission.

He said they were skewed in favour of the doctor at the expense of the patient.

AWF said he would suggest a policy change where doctors deregistered for serious child sexual abuse should not be allowed re-apply for registration after four years.

AAP, Thursday 7 May 2015

Butcher doctor indicted for manslaughter


Disgraced former obstetrician and gynaecologist specialist doctor Graeme Stephen REEVES has been indicted for manslaughter after allegedly misdiagnosing a new mother, who later died from an infection.

The 65-year-old, who has previously been jailed for inflicting grievous bodily harm on patients and sexual assault, will apply for taxpayers to fund his defence through Legal Aid, again.

REEVES faces a manslaughter charge over the death of the late Mrs Kerry Ann McAllister, who was his patient when she gave birth to her son at The Hills Private Hospital (now known as Baulkham Hills Private Hospital), Baulkham Hills, an outer north-western suburb of Sydney, in 1996.

A Coroner’s Inquest heard Mrs McAllister died from septicaemia less than a week after the birth.  The septicaemia stemmed from an untreated post-partum bacterial infection.  Despite a rising temperature, it is alleged REEVES believed Mrs McAllister only had a virus.  Mrs McAllister was soon critically ill and was transferred to Westmead Hospital where she died despite efforts to save her with antibiotic treatment.

A representative from the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions said they would be ready to set a trial date at the next court appearance on 5 June 2015.

Bored nurse murdered 30 patients

Oldenburg, Germany

A 38-year-old male nurse has admitted killing 30 patients and trying to kill 60 more with drug overdoses because he was “bored” and wanted to show his CPR skills.

Prosecutors had earlier decided to limit the trial to just 3 killings to make the case against NIELS H easier to prove.

But a court-appointed psychologist told the court in the north-western city of Oldenburg the man admitted in their talks he had used overdoses of a cardiac drug to kill “about 30” seriously ill people from 2003 to 2005 at Delmenhorst Hospital.  Another 60 survived the injections.

The accused insisted he had not tried to kill anyone at other hospitals during his career or while he had worked as an ambulance crewman.

“I was bored”, he told police.

Prosecutors said his motive was to create intensive-care emergencies where he could impress and win gratitude with his talent for saving people from the brink of death.

His name has been withheld under German media privacy guidelines.

At the trial that began last year he has been charged with three murders and two attempted murders.

He is already serving seven and a half years in prison on a 2008 conviction for attempted murder.

A colleague caught him red-handed in the summer of 2005 as he injected a patient in intensive care with an overdose.

Her accusation set the series of cases going, but more deaths a decade ago only gradually emerged to reviews of patient files.

One doctor who gave evidence in September said he was a “passionate medic” who made a good impression on staff at the clinic.

“I found it strange that he was always on hand with patients were being resuscitated, often helping younger doctors with intubation  – inserting a breathing tube into a patient’s airways”, the doctor said.

“No one wants to believe that a colleague would rather kill patients instead of helping them”, Erich Joester, a lawyer for the clinic, said.


Nurse to face trial for murder

Newcastle, New South Wales

A male registered nurse allegedly murdered two aged care residents with a fatal drug overdose and tried to kill another woman using the same method.

Police from ‘Strike Force Correa’ arrested 27-year-old Lake Macquarie resident GARRY STEVEN DAVIS yesterday morning after a 14-month investigation into the alleged murders of Gwen Fowler, 83, and Ryan Kelly, 80, in October last year at the SummitCare Wallsend Aged Care Facility near Newcastle, New South Wales.

DAVIS, a nurse at the site until his employment was terminated in September, allegedly injected both Mrs Fowler and Mr Kelly with fatal doses of insulin. Neither of the two residents, nor 91-year-old Audrey Manuel, who survived an alleged attempt by DAVIS to kill her in an identical manner, required insulin as medication.

Wearing a blue T-shirt and shorts, DAVIS yesterday appeared briefly in Newcastle Local Court charged with two counts of murder and one of attempted murder. He did not enter pleas and did not apply for bail, which was refused.

Newcastle Police Chief Superintendent John Gralton said DAVIS had been a person “of particular interest for quite a lengthy period of time”.

Joan Rivers died from medical error

Joan Rivers died as a result of ‘predictable complication’ during surgery

New York NY

Comedian Joan RIVERS, who passed away last month at the age of 81, died of a complication during a medical procedure, the New York Chief Medical Examiner’s Office said on Thursday, 16 October 2014.

Rivers was having an examination of the back of the throat and vocal cords at a New York clinic, Yorkville Endoscopy, when she stopped breathing and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where she was put on life support.

“The manner of death is therapeutic complication,” the medical examiner said in a statement, “the death resulted from a predictable complication of medical therapy.”

It listed the Cause of Death as anoxic encephalopathy, a condition caused when brain tissue is deprived of oxygen and there is brain damage.

Rivers, the brash, pioneering comedian who paved the way for women in stand-up comedy, died in hospital on September 4, a week after the outpatient procedure.

Following her death, the New York State Health Department launched an investigation into Yorkville Endoscopy where Rivers was treated. It reviewed records and documents and questioned doctors at the clinic which opened in 2013.

The clinic denied media reports that it had administered a general anesthesia or conducted a vocal cord biopsy on Rivers.  Last month the clinic said the doctor who performed the procedure was not currently working there or serving as its medical director.

The clinic and its spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment. They also declined to comment on a claim made by a staff member at the clinic that the doctor took a ‘selfie’ with Rivers before performing the procedure.



Doctor falsifies cancer diagnoses to defraud millions

Detroit, MI

An American oncologist faces up to 175 years in prison for a scam in which he reaped millions of dollars by putting patients on chemotherapy drugs they didn’t need, in order to defraud public and private insurers.

Dr Farid FATA, 49, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of healthcare fraud, one count of conspiring to receive kickbacks and one count of money laundering as the owner of a cancer treatment clinic and a diagnostic testing facility.

“Dr FATA…  admitted he put greed before the health and safety of his patients, putting them through unnecessary chemotherapy and other treatments just so that he could collect additional millions from MEDICARE,” said US Assistant Attorney- General Leslie CALDWELL.

“The mere thought of what he did is chilling.”

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation said FATA was swiftly arrested after agents were alerted to the scam in mid-2013.

FATA submitted approximately $225 million in claims to MEDICARE – the US federal-funded program in the US that provides health insurance to the disabled and people over 65 – between August 2007 and July 2013.

The claims included about $109 million for chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.

MEDICARE paid the fraudster $91 million, of which over $48 million was for chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.

Employees of FATA’s Michigan Hematology Oncology Clinic (MHO), which had six offices in the Detroit area, gave damning evidence of dangerous prescribing practices.

FATA had prescribed chemotherapy drugs for all end-of-life patients and for patients whose cancer was in remission, an oncologist employee testified.

FATA also ordered inappropriate dosages, such as 56 doses of rituximab over two years for a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patient where a normal course would be 12 doses over that period.

A nurse practitioner at MHO said FATA had a large patient volume of up to 50–70 patients per day but saw them for just a few minutes each, leaving possibly unregistered “foreign doctors” to perform examinations.

Another nurse practitioner said FATA falsified cancer diagnoses to justify cancer treatments and conduct PET scans at a diagnostic facility he owned. Those patients did not see the false diagnosis, but it was used to justify fraudulent billing to their insurer.

The nurse also said FATA twice ordered the administration of chemotherapy to patients with other serious conditions.  After a man fell and hit his head at MHO, FATA directed he receive chemotherapy before being taken to a hospital Emergency Room, where he died shortly after.

Pleading guilty in the Michigan Eastern District Court last month, FATA admitted prescribing and administering unnecessary chemotherapy, cancer treatments, intravenous iron and other infusion therapies to increase his billings to MEDICARE and private insurance companies.

He also admitted to soliciting kickbacks for referring patients to a hospice and home care service.

“It’s exceptionally distressing to see this kind of fraud committed by individuals in occupations that profess high ethical standards,” said Richard WEBER, chief of criminal investigation at the Internal Revenue Service, which took part in the investigation.

“When doctors commit fraud through their profession, it is not only a violation of the public trust but also a complete renunciation of their Hippocratic oath.”

FATA will face a statutory maximum penalty of 175 years when he is sentenced in February.