Urologist, Dr Vega Vega, now practising privately in Rocky
PASSIONATE about public health, Dr Antonio Vega Vega came to Rockhampton to establish a permanent urological service.
His goal - to offer the local population the same services that can be done in Brisbane or bigger centres.
The specialist's expertise was an asset to the community.
But despite a QCAT decision to overturn his suspension by the Medical Board of Australia in June, he still cannot practise in public hospitals.
Last week, family friend Graeme Crow QC told The Morning Bulletin Dr Vega Vega is practising privately again within Rockhampton and the Central Queensland region.
"He's back working and that's very positive," he said.
However, Mr Crow said the general public had been denied the benefit of an extremely experienced urologist.
Dr Vega Vega was stood down from his position at the Rockhampton Hospital by the Central Queensland Health and Hospital Services (CQHHS) board earlier this year. It was alleged he had botched four surgeries.
However, of these cases the board thought only one was arguable - that involving the removal of a patient's wrong kidney in January.
Court documents revealed the surgery was extremely complicated due to the patient's multiple major physical abnormalities.
This caused her right kidney to be dragged to the position of her left kidney - an outcome QCAT deputy president Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren found was reasonably unforeseeable.
The board argued the procedure should not have been performed in Rockhampton.
But Judge Horneman-Wren concluded there was no evidence which suggested the outcome would have been any different if the surgery was performed in Brisbane. He found that no operation is risk-free.
He therefore set aside the board's suspension and the imposition of conditions on Dr Vega Vega's registration. Despite this, Mr Crow said Dr Vega Vega continues to offer his sincerest apology to the patient. Dr Vega Vega now awaits the outcome of the CQHHS board's internal investigation.
Mr Crow said Dr Vega Vega has been practising for over 20 years, performing 7000 surgeries in Australia and over 20,000 in Europe and the US. According to his CV, he completed his medical degree in Spain in 1990 and became a urologist in 1996.
He has been a member of the Spanish Urological Society, the European Board of Urology in the UK and the International Endourological Society for more than 10 years.
In 2001 he obtained his PhD and in 2011 he completed his urology fellowship at the Royal College of Surgeons of Australia.
Mr Crow said Dr Vega Vega was extremely grateful for the support he has received from the Rockhampton community, in particular his medical colleagues.