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Dr. Charlie Teo News – Could it Lead to Medical Negligence Claims?  

On July 12, 2023, Elizabeth Utting, Managing Solicitor of Law Partners’ Medical Negligence team, was interviewed by 10 News for their evening news story on Dr Charlie Teo and the judgement of the professional standards committee. In this article we look beyond the judgement and explain the potential for medical negligence claims against Dr. Teo. 

Male surgeons working in operating room at hospital

The judgment of the professional standards committee was that Dr Charlie Teo was found guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct.  

“This means his conduct was significantly below the reasonable standard of someone with his training and experience”, explained Ms Utting. “He was found guilty of unsatisfactory professional misconduct for a range of reasons relating to two patients including lack of informed consent, lack of skill in performing surgery, financial concerns relating to overcharging and no discussion of costs involved to fix mistakes that occurred during surgery, and breaches of patient privacy.” 

Asked about the implications of this judgement, Ms Utting said: “We place huge amounts of trust in doctors and the health system and health issues will affect every one of us at some point. So, we want to ensure that the health and safety of patients is protected and that doctors are not taking unreasonable risks and especially without the proper informed consent of the patient.” 

Could the families claim medical negligence against Dr. Teo?

Claims in medical negligence have a different legal test to the professional standards committee judgement. But the judgement does raise the obvious question – could the families of the two patients who passed away make medical negligence claims against Dr. Teo?  

“They would be entitled to bring claims in nervous shock and for compensation to relatives”, explained Ms Utting. “For nervous shock, a family member who suffers a recognised psychiatric injury may recover damages for pain and suffering, past and future expenses, past and future care and assistance expenses, and past and future economic loss. For compensation to relatives claims, the family may recover damages for the cost of the funeral and headstone, the loss of financial support and the loss of care and assistance.”  

While this judgement may bring some closure, the impact of medical negligence on the families of patients who pass away can be devastating. “It’s important that we have a system in place such as the professional standards committee to hold doctors accountable for their actions”, said Ms Utting.  

“But the reality for many of our medical negligence clients is having to deal with the physical, psychological and financial impact for many years to come. That’s where my team steps in, to provide much-needed financial relief, and pay for essential treatment and care options for people impacted by medical negligence.” 

If you or someone you know has been impacted by medical negligence, you can have a confidential conversation with Elizabeth or a member of her team by calling Law Partners on 13 15 15. 

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