Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Doctor 'Dodging Probe'; Vega Vega's Legal Threats Stymied Review: Queensland Health Barrister

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Doctor 'Dodging Probe'; Vega Vega's Legal Threats Stymied Review: Queensland Health Barrister

Article excerpt

Byline: Rae Wilson, APN Newsdesk

QUEENSLAND Health says Central Queensland urologist Antonio Vega Vega threatened litigation to prevent a review of his patient care amid allegations of botched surgeries.

Barrister Declan Kelly, acting for Queensland Health and the investigators, said Dr Vega Vega had thwarted efforts to allow him procedural fairness, declining four interview requests and avoiding written requests for information.

He told Brisbane Supreme Court there had been a "shift" in correspondence from wanting to provide answers to wanting to prevent the process going forward to completion.

"The focus then is not so much on giving information, but 'here are our demands and if they're not met we're going to court to solve this process'," he said.

Mr Kelly said it might have been an approach Dr Vega Vega thought was reasonable in protecting his interests globally, but his actions hampered investigators in their efforts to give him procedural fairness in the review.

"They're operating in a dynamic where litigation is being threatened to prevent the review proceeding," he said.

Dr Vega Vega, who has worked as a surgeon at Rockhampton and Gladstone hospitals, hit the headlines last year following allegations he removed the wrong kidney from a patient during a complicated surgical procedure at Rockhampton Hospital.

The Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service stood down Dr Vega Vega and launched an investigation into his care of four patients.

Dr Vega Vega claims those investigations were biased and did not allow natural justice to take its course.

His barrister, Stephen Keim, told the court that clinical reviews -- which he seeks to have declared invalid -- had looked at a narrow band of complex surgeries Dr Vega Vega had performed to determine he lacked experience to conduct them.

"I say that is cherry-picking," he said. …

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