A MEDICAL specialist who was suspended by the NSW Medical Council in July says he is appealing against the decision, but has declined to say why action was taken against him.
‘‘As a conscientious and caring physician, I would love to present my side of this matter. However, the matter is under appeal and I am instructed that I cannot discuss any of the details,’’ obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Richard Reid said yesterday.
A Newcastle Herald article on Tuesday about Dr Reid’s suspension prompted a wave of anger and letters of support from former patients, many who credited him with addressing complications from prolapse surgery performed by other surgeons.
Vaginal prolapse is a common condition where the bladder, uterus or bowel protrude into the vagina. The most common cause is pregnancy and birth.
‘‘If it wasn’t for Richard Reid I would not be here today,’’ a former patient, who alleged a specialist ‘‘washed his hands of me’’ after two failed prolapse operations using controversial mesh implants, said.
Another patient described ‘‘debilitating chronic pain’’ after failed mesh implant surgery with a surgeon in 2005 and 2006, which was only relieved in May when Dr Reid removed the mesh.
‘‘If this ever ends up in court I reckon the courtroom would burst open with ex and current patients willing to give their support,’’ said a third patient, who credited Dr Reid with ‘‘repairing the mess’’ from three previous prolapse surgeries with other surgeons.
But at least four former clients from the Hunter, Central Coast and Sydney are claiming damages after surgery by Dr Reid to repair prolapses, and the University of New England has written to his lawyer over the doctor’s continued ‘‘incorrect’’ use of the title ‘‘associate professor’’ more than two and a half years after he was not entitled to use it.
Dr Reid did not respond to questions about his use of the title ‘‘professor’’ on correspondence, his email address and Facebook page.
A Central Coast woman, whose claim for damages after surgery by Dr Reid in 2010 was mentioned in Gosford District Court on Monday, alleges she suffered physical and emotional damage. The woman claims she did not sign a consent form for the mesh implants.
A Sydney woman’s case after surgery in 2010 and 2011 returns to the Sydney District Court in November. The woman said she launched her damages case in August last year and believed she was the only person taking legal action against Dr Reid until she read the Herald article referring to the Gosford District Court case.
In her damages claim the woman alleges she did not give informed consent and suffered severe adverse reactions as a result of surgery by Dr Reid in 2010 and 2011 at a Sydney private hospital.
In September 2011 the NSW Medical Council placed conditions of consent over Dr Reid’s practice after a performance review panel hearing. The conditions required he obtain ‘‘valid informed consent for the surgery which he performs’’, and obtain and record a second opinion before performing certain procedures.
Newcastle lawyer Catherine Henry has finalised three cases against Dr Reid in the past 10 years, with the most recent about four years ago. One of the cases involved a mesh implant while another involved laser surgery.
Maurice Blackburn lawyer Anna Walsh said her office was investigating a number of potential medical negligence cases involving Dr Reid and women who had received prolapse surgery. ‘‘The issue of informed consent is a common thread,’’ she said.