Let’s talk: Is bureaucracy getting in the way of our grandchildren’s health?

Australia’s top brain surgeon claims that Sydney Children’s Hospital is preventing him from saving the life of an 18-month-old child,
Let's Talk

Australia’s top brain surgeon claims that Sydney Children’s Hospital is preventing him from saving the life of an 18-month-old child, who is dying from a brain tumour.

Dr Charlie Teo claims that a culture of bullying and bureaucracy has meant the Sydney Children’s Hospital hasn’t referred a patient onto him, for 17 years.

“I have to battle. There’s day-in and day-out administrators, other doctors who feel like they have the final say and I don’t have the final say”, explained Dr Teo.

Dr Teo believes this troublesome culture could cost at least one child his life. “I have a child who’s dying from a brain tumour. It’s a benign tumour”, Dr Teo said.

“(At Sydney Children’s Hospital) surgery goes against everything they believe in, because it’s their doctors who’ve said it’s inoperable”.

“It’s their doctors who’ve given the chemotherapy. And now they’re putting pressure on me not to operate on that child”, Dr Teo added.

58-year-old Dr Teo has saved many patients, by operating on brain tumours that other surgeons consider inoperable or high risk. Dr Teo’s critics say he offers cancer sufferers false hope.

“While there’s quality of life, there’s hope”, Dr Teo argues though. “If people aren’t willing to die, I will certainly not condemn them to a death sentence”.

“People I’ve operated on that really should have died within six months, a lot of them are still alive and a lot survived two, three, four years”, he added.

The pioneering surgeon also believes that it’s up to patients, not doctors or hospital bureaucrats, to decide which treatments occur.

“Other doctors and other administrators… They don’t have the right to dictate the plight of (this) child”, Dr Teo said.

“It’s all about patient autonomy. It’s all about the fact that the parents have taken that information and it’s all about risk propensity. They are willing to take the risk”.

A spokesperson for the Sydney Children’s Hospital has hit back at Dr Teo though: “Doctors provide parents with the options and subsequent implications, risks, benefits and possible side effects”.

“Most children with complex conditions have a team of highly specialised experts involved in their care, with one of those doctors identified as the principal clinician”, the spokesperson added.

Can you imagine if your grandchild was in a life-threatening situation? Would you want an expert like Dr Teo to operate, and potentially save their life? Do you think that bureaucrats are getting in the way of critical healthcare?

  1. What do you expect.the government gives them self a pay rise.than failed to put the gst up.they are shorting them selfs now.so these things will have to wait.what a joke

  2. The whole health system has systemic bullying if you want to do the right thing you are immediately offside healthcare is now run by minimilasts it ysed to be patient centred care niw its money orientated and if you shut your mouth you will be lauded.

    • You are right. As a volunteer I saw the bullying first hand. That is why I stopped volunteering in a hospital.

    • Debbie Bryant Yes I have spent a lot of time in hospitals with my daughter, then my elderly parents and I saw a lot of things I

    • I’m sure people would not believe if I told them. I have had lots of fights with Drs etc trying to get the best attention for them. Someone said I should volunteer in the hospital, but I could

    • couldnt put up with all the bullying without saying something or causing a fuss, so sure I would be thrown out. Sorry about this post, I keep pushing the enter button by mistake.

  3. Beaurecracy gone mad .Parents have the final say!!!!! I trust Charlie Teo who does wonderful work in the field of brain surgery.

  4. If my child was dying and someone offered the slightest chance of a cure, and I knew that person was credible, I would grab that chance.

  5. What about the parents right. What if it was their child being refused treatment. If Charlie said he could do it they would be there in a flash.

  6. Surely the parents would still be able to opt for a preferred doctor or transfer the child to another hospital

    • They probably do not have private health cover and so are dependent on the public system. It is a dreadful position to be in. I feel so sorry for them.

    • Yes there in lies the difficulty….you can only choose your surgeon with private health cover..and go to where that surgeon operates….but some surgeons do work at Public hospitals too..but no doubt a big waiting list…unless it can be prioritised….

  7. Charlie Teo never offered us false hope where our son was concerned, he was forthcoming with all the facts and he answered all of our questions honestly. He gave us an extra 9 months with our son that we very probably would not have had if he hadn’t operated. He was the only one who would operate, the other doctors would not. He also cares about his patients, he takes the time after the operation ( our son’s lasted over 16 hours) to contact the family and talk to them and explain exactly what he has done and I have never seen a doctor get so excited about his patients recovery, he was so excited one day in icu that the nurses had to ask him to keep the noise level down. Our son didn’t make it but I still give thanks regularly for Charlie Teo.

    • That’s so sad Kerry, my condolences. I think you had the best looking after your son.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss, but glad that you got some extra time with your son. When my daughter was young we spent many many times in hospital and saw some heartbreaking cases. You certainly had the best looking after your son.

    • So very sorry for the loss of your son. You have amazing strength and spirit to acknowledge the expertise, care and dedication of Dr Teo who you had faith in doing all he could. I hope this has given you some peace and that you will know happiness again. Thank you for sharing XXX

  8. This is a disgrace. Patients should be given all options and given the opportunity to choose – doctors should not be playing God. If someone you loved was dying with a brain tumor, and this man offered some hope or was at least prepared to try, you’d want to know about this option.

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