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Professor Charles (“Charlie”) Teo

This information sheet concerns a recent Professional Standards Committee Inquiry into the conduct of Professor Charlie Teo, neurosurgeon.

In its decision published 12 July 2023, the Committee found that Professor Teo was guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct.

*Disclaimer: Professor Teo has the right of appeal in relation to these findings by way of application to the NSW Civil and Administrative (NCAT). This information sheet will be updated accordingly, if and when this firm is made aware of any such development.

Background

Professor Teo:

  • was found to have operated on two (2) unrelated patients in circumstances where the risk of brain surgery was determined to have outweighed any potential benefits of the surgery.
  • Both patients died following brain surgery.
  • Neither patient had provided informed consent to Professor Teo for the surgical procedures which led to their untimely deaths.

We sincerely empathise with the families of those patients (referred to in the Committee’s decision as Patient A and Patient B, respectively) and we deplore what can only be described as wilful, medical malpractice by Professor Teo.

We discuss the possible compensation options for patients and their families arising from adverse outcomes under the care of Professor Teo.

If you or someone you know have undergone surgical procedures with Professor Teo which led to adverse or unforeseen outcomes, it is important to understand your potential legal options in relation to any loss and damage you may have suffered as the result of any unsatisfactory professional conduct or error on his part.

It is equally important to act promptly as there are time limits which apply to claims against medical practitioners, including claims arising from medical negligence and intentional torts.

Who is Charlie Teo?

Charlie Teo:

  • is a neurosurgeon with a history of performing complex brain surgeries.
  • he was first registered to practise medicine in 1981, having obtained degrees (MB.BS) from the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
  • he has been a fellow of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons (RACS) since 1993.
  • he was appointed to academic positions at UNSW, Duke University Medical Centre (USA) and Hanoi Medical University (Vietnam), in 2015 and 2016.
  • in 2018 and 2019, he was operating at Prince of Wales Private Hospital.
  • has been accused of a number of things, including assaulting his patients post-surgery, including slapping a patient and shaking “the living daylights” out of a patient.
  • in 2021, the Medical Council of New South Wales imposed conditions on his registration to practise medicine, requiring written permission and supervision when proposing to undertake a certain kind of brain surgery (recurrent malignant intracranial tumour and brain stem tumour surgical procedures).

What were the complaints against Ms Smith?

The allegations identified by the Professional Standards Committee were that Professor Teo:

  1. decided to operate on two patients where the risk of surgery outweighed any potential benefits of the surgery;
  2. failed to obtain informed consent from either patient prior to surgery;
  3. charged an inappropriate fee of $35,000 to Patient B prior to surgery; and
  4. Spoke inappropriately to Patient B’s daughter post-surgery.

To read more about the case, please follow the following link for the full decision published by the NSW Professional Standards Committee:

https://www.hccc.nsw.gov.au/decisions-orders/media-releases/2023/professor-charles-teo-medical-practitioner-unsatisfactory-professional-conduct-reprimand-and-conditions

What did the authorities do to protect the public from Charlie Teo?

According to the NSW Professional Standards Committee decision issued 12 July 2023:

  1. Professor Teo was found guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct.
  2. Professor Teo was formally reprimanded in relation to his unsatisfactory professional conduct.
  3. A series of restrictive conditions was placed on Professor Teo’s registration, including written permissions and supervision requirements.
  4. The above conditions are to apply across all Australian States and Territories.
  5. Professor Teo will need to apply to the NSW Medical Council for any variation of the conditions and undertakings which now apply to his registration to practice medicine in Australia, pursuant to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW).

What can patients impacted by Charlie Teo do?

Patients who have suffered adverse outcomes under the care of Professor Teo may have a number of options for recourse/compensation:

  • Victims’ Compensation
    Firstly, in the event of any criminal conviction for assault, primary victims of crime (such as trespass to the person, assault and battery) can apply for immediate financial support of up to $5,000.00, as well as 22 hours’ counselling.
  • Court Proceedings for Damages
    Secondly, patients and families affected by medical malpractice / medical negligence / intentional wrongful acts can make a common law claim in medical negligence or intentional tort for injury, loss and damage arising due to the acts and omissions of Professor Teo.
  • If patients or their loved-ones claim damages for personal injury as the result of either medical negligence or intentional tort, they are entitled seek compensation for any losses caused by the injuries, including the loss of income or income earning capacity, the care they require and are provided either commercially or by their loved ones, and for the pain and suffering that they have suffered.

What are the steps in making a claim against Charlie Teo?

Contact Us
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 Relevant Documents
If we agree that your case has prospects of succeeding, we will request your relevant records (as well as any relevant police records). Once we have reviewed those records thoroughly, we will advise you whether we think there is merit in pursuing a claim.

Court Proceedings
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.

Are there time limits in making a claim against Charlie Teo?

Yes, generally three (3) years from the date on which a person sustained injury, loss and damage. However, the courts do have some discretion in circumstances where a claimant cannot be said to have ‘discovered’ their cause of action within that initial three-year period.

It is extremely important to speak with a solicitor as soon as possible if you think you have a claim.

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