This information sheet concerns findings of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct against Dr John Joseph Grygiel.
On 17 March 2021, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) handed down its reasons for decision, which included the following protective orders:
- If Dr Grygiel was still registered, the Tribunal would have cancelled his registration;
- Dr Grygiel is precluded from seeking a re-instatement order for a period of two years;
- The Medical Board of Australia is requested to record in the register the fact that the Tribunal would have cancelled Dr Grygiel’s registration.
We discuss the possible compensation options for patients who have been adversely affected by Dr Grygiel’s substandard care and treatment.
If you or someone you know have been a patient of Dr Grygiel, it is important to understand your potential legal options in relation to any injuries you may have sustained while under his care. It is important to act promptly as there are time limits which apply to actions in medical negligence.
Dr Grygiel was a medical practitioner practising as an oncologist at several hospitals, who was responsible for providing care and treatment to a large number of cancer patients – particularly those suffering with head or neck squamous cell carcinomas.
Dr Grygiel had previously worked as an oncologist at St Vincent’s Hospital (Sydney, 2012 – 2016), Macquarie University Hospital (Sydney, 2019 – 2012) and hospitals in Bathurst and Orange (Greater Western Area Health Service – 1989 – 2012).
According to a statement released by the Health Care Complaints Commission (‘HCCC’) on 12 April 2021, Dr Grygiel’s conduct – which affected dozens of cancer patients and their families – amounted to unsatisfactory professional conduct and (the more serious finding of) professional misconduct, in that he:
1. Failed to obtain adequate and informed consent from 52 patients;
2. Failed to make and keep adequate records of his care and treatment of 52 patients;
3. Provided care and treatment of 11 identified patients that was significantly below the expected standard; and
4. Adopted a standard practice of prescribing a flat dose of 100mg Carboplatin for 33 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (‘HNSCC’) patients. In so doing, he demonstrated that he holds firmly-held views in relation to the treatment of HNSCC as a result of which:
a. there is a risk that his HNSCC patients treated with Carboplatin did not receive chemotherapy they were otherwise eligible to receive, and the efficacy of which was supported by published trials or meta-analyses; and
b. he did not give comprehensive advice to the 33 patients to enable them to give informed consent (this was referred to as the ‘standard practice’ complaint).
The repeated theme of complaints about Dr Grygiel was that he had developed a standard practice or blanket approach to the treatment of patients with complex and varying needs. He made seemingly arbitrary decisions regarding chemotherapy doses, obtained inadequate and uninformed consent from patients (for life-changing treatments with serious side-effects), and did not keep proper records in relation to at least 52 patients.
In 2016, Dr Grygiel voluntarily changed his registration to that of a non-practising medical practitioner. In 2020, he surrendered his non-practising registration.
On 17 March 2021, NCAT made the following orders for the protection of the public and for the general deterrence of others:
1. Pursuant to s 149C(4)(a) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (the National Law) the Tribunal determines that if John Joseph Grygiel (the practitioner) was still registered it would have cancelled his registration.
2. The practitioner is precluded under s 149C(4)(b) of the National Law from seeking a re-instatement order for a period of two years from the date of these orders.
3. The Medical Board of Australia is requested to record under s 149C(4)(c) in the register the fact that the Tribunal would have cancelled the practitioner’s registration.
4. Pursuant to s 163 of the National Law the Tribunal is the appropriate review body.
5. The practitioner shall pay 70 per cent of the Health Care Complaints Commission’s costs of and incidental to these proceedings as agreed and failing agreement as assessed under the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 (NSW).
Patients and families affected by Dr Grygiel can issue court proceedings for damages.
If a person claims damages for personal injuries that they have received as a result of medical negligence, they could seek compensation for any losses caused by the injuries, including the loss of income or income earning capacity, the care they require provided either commercially or by their loved ones, and for the pain and suffering that they have suffered.
We can speak with you either in person, by audio visual means, or by telephone, by way of a free initial consultation – in order to understand the circumstances of your potential claim. We will talk to you about your case and advise initially whether we think the case is worth your while to investigate.
Obtain Your Clinical Notes
If we agree that your case has prospects of succeeding, we will request your relevant clinical records. Once we have reviewed those records thoroughly, we will advise you whether we think there is merit in pursuing a claim.
Once we have the supporting documents and evidence necessary to commence court proceedings, we can do so on your behalf and act for you in those proceedings until the case is resolved.
Yes, generally three (3) years from the date on which a personal injury becomes discoverable, and not more than twelve (12) years after the negligent care and treatment.
It is extremely important to speak with a solicitor as soon as possible if you think you have a claim.
If you or someone you know have been a patient of Dr Grygiel, it is important to understand your potential legal options in relation to any injuries you may have sustained while under his care. One of our expert solicitors can advise you about your options in an obligation-free consultation. You can call us on (02) 4050 0330 or book an appointment online.