ROCKHAMPTON doctor Antonio Vega Vega has "deeply" apologised to the family of the young woman whose incorrect kidney was removed as his right to practise medicine without conditions was renewed.
He said the operation was difficult, taking seven hours, and he "exercised the utmost care".
"The operation took place on the correct side," he said in a statement he issued today.
"I had no warning that the organ which I removed (and which was located where I expected the intended organ to be and which had the expected appearance of the intended organ) was, in fact, the incorrect organ.
"Nonetheless, I regret deeply the adverse result of that operation for this young woman.
"I also regret that I was unable, when the error was discovered, to communicate the news and my apologies to the patient and her family, personally.
"I deeply apologise to them, now."
Dr Vega Vega said he was grateful, after receiving analysis from three expert urologists, that he could now practise medicine without conditions.
"I thank Judge Horneman-Wren for his careful and courteous conduct of the proceedings and the careful way in which he has analysed the evidence," he said.
"I would like to thank the medical community in Rockhampton for their support.
"In particular, I would like to thank those colleagues, being practitioners from general practice and various specialities, who provided evidence to the tribunal.
"Lastly, I want to thank my wife, Deborah, and my two children, Antonio and Victoria.
"Your love and support has been important since I have known you.
"Over the last couple of months, it has sustained me.
"I would never have come through this period, intact, if it had not been for you."
Dr Vega Vega apologised for not delivering his statement in person.
He said he had an overseas family holiday that was booked some time ago.
"My lawyers advised that I should proceed as planned and I was grateful to take their advice as I think some, hopefully, relaxed family time will be of great benefit to each of us," he said.
"I look forward to resuming medical practice in Rockhampton.
"I acknowledge that investigations into my conduct are ongoing and look forward to assisting in these to the best of my abilities."
Premier Campbell Newman said he was confident there was a much better oversight system in Queensland than two years ago.
"I have to compare and contrast the sad events at Bundaberg with what's happened at Rockhampton," he said.
"In Bundaberg and with the former government you had a culture of cover-up and denial, with the issue at Rockhampton, terrible though that may be as well, you've had openness and transparency and a determination to deal with the problems and be forthright with the community.
"So that's real progress."
The Australian Medical Board and the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency also made a statement about their roles in protecting the public.
"Last month, the board took interim steps to limit Dr Vega Vega's medical registration to protect public safety, while additional information was gathered," it read.
"In this period, the board sought clinical advice about the doctor's management of a number of incidents in Rockhampton that had triggered notifications to the board.
"Last week, the board altered the restrictions and imposed conditions on Dr Vega Vega's registration, after reviewing clinical advice about the incidents.
"Today, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal determined that the restrictions on Dr Vega Vega's registration were not necessary and ordered that the conditions be removed. That has now occurred.
"The board noted the tribunal's acknowledgement of the board's ongoing review of the limits on the Dr Vega Vega's registration, as new evidence became available to the board. "
AHPRA will continue its inquiries into the notifications on the board's behalf.
Dr Vega Vega 'does not pose risk to patients'
A ROCKHAMPTON doctor does not pose a risk to patients, a review has found.
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal deputy president Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren set aside the Australian Medical Board's initial suspension and the supervisory condition imposed last Friday.
The decision does not completely wipe the slate clean for the Spanish-trained Dr Antonio Vega Vega as there are other complaints still outstanding.
He removed the wrong kidney while operating on a patient at Rockhampton on January 22 this year.
He told a hearing on Monday that the patient had anatomical changes which meant the kidney had displaced.
Dr Vega Vega said the kidney he removed was infected too and he had no inkling it was the wrong one during the surgery.
Judge Horneman-Wren found that Dr Vega Vega possessed the requisite judgment on whether he could perform complex surgeries and whether they could be performed in Rockhampton.
He said the doctor could judge which cases should be referred to a capital city hospital and when he should seek help from other surgical urologists.
"In my view, Dr Vega Vega does not pose a serious risk to persons but the surgery which he and others perform does pose a risk," he said.
"The removal of the wrong organ or injury to an organ due to disorientation and due to the abnormal anatomy has certainly happened in highly-regarded tertiary referral centres in recent times with surgeons that were well supported with or without consultant assistance."
Doctor to find out whether he will get his licence back
THE doctor dismissed after being accused of botching a kidney operation and other complaints will find out today if he will get his licence to operate back.
Dr Antonio Vega Vega was stood down in April from his role at Rockhampton Hospital after allegedly botching four surgeries.
He has fronted a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal this week, which will deliver a decision today.
The Spanish-trained doctor had performed over 1000 surgeries at the hospital before his dismissal.
The Medical Board of Australia made the decision to suspend Dr Antonio Vega Vega's licence in May, pending further inquiries by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and the board.
Dr Vega Vega is allowed to practise again after the Queensland Medical Board revoked a suspension on Friday, but a supervision condition was imposed.
In a story earlier this week, APN reported Dr Vega Vega told the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal that he would do that if he did not believe the Rockhampton hospital had sufficient infrastructure to deal with highly complex cases, or if he needed support.
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