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Rockhampton doctor ‘unfairly attacked for mistakes’

DEFENDING COLLEAGUE: Dr Francois Malan (pictured in the operating theatre) yesterday defended Dr Antonio Vega Vega.
DEFENDING COLLEAGUE: Dr Francois Malan (pictured in the operating theatre) yesterday defended Dr Antonio Vega Vega. TAMARA MACKENZIE

ROCKHAMPTON detectives yesterday received a complaint relating to someone suspended following a botched kidney operation.

But Queensland Police Media were unable to confirm if it was a medical negligence complaint against Dr Antonio Vega Vega.

A colleague of Dr Vega Vega's faced a press pack camped outside the urologist's Rockhampton home yesterday morning to defend him.

Dr Francois Malan from the Mater Hospital said Dr Vega Vega was being unfairly attacked for making mistakes any doctor could make.

Three investigations have been launched after revelations Dr Vega Vega allegedly botched four surgeries.

The Spanish-trained doctor has been stood down from his job at Rockhampton Hospital after allegedly removing the wrong kidney of a patient, misdiagnosing a twisted testicle leading to its removal, nicking a patient's artery, and putting a stent in the wrong place.

Dr Vega Vega has voluntarily taken leave from his other roles at the Rockhampton and Gladstone Mater hospitals and Hillcrest Rockhampton Private Hospital.

Dr Malan is an ear, throat and nose specialist at the Mater Hospital.

He received medical training overseas, like Dr Vega Vega.

As the Opposition likens Dr Vega Vega's case to that of infamous Bundaberg surgeon Jayant Patel, Dr Malan said it wasn't just doctors trained overseas who made errors.

Dr Malan said Australian-trained doctors also made mistakes.

"Just to put an artery that's nicked in the press and say nobody's ever done it, just overseas doctors, that's not fair," he said.

"It shouldn't be listed there, it's unbelievable."

Many in the Central Queensland medical community have agreed the region could not survive without overseas-trained doctors.

The number of doctors practising in Australia who were born overseas has surged in recent years according to the Australia Bureau of Statistics.

In 2011 47% of specialists were born overseas.

Many are desperately needed to fill gaps in regional areas such as Rockhampton.

Dr Malan said Dr Vega Vega should not be accused of malpractice unless all of the facts were known.

Another Rockhampton surgeon, who asked not to be named, condemned the coverage of Dr Vega Vega.

He said Dr Vega Vega was a victim of trial by media.

Topics:  medical negligence, police, rockhampton hospital




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