Controversial neurosurgeon Charlie Teo broke his silence in a moving message about the teenage patient he called his “miracle girl”.
Controversial neurosurgeon Charlie Teo has likened himself to “an elite athlete” in a touching tribute to neurosurgery and the teenage patient he called his “miracle girl”.
The former Australian of the Year finalist has kept a relatively low profile since conditions were imposed on his medical registration last year following complaints from colleagues.
Prior to the overhaul of his medical practices, Dr. Teo had built his reputation by operating on people with incurable or inoperable brain cancers.
One of his best-known patients was Amelia “Milli” Lucas, a 14-year-old girl from Perth who raised $170,000 to afford Dr Teo’s services and flew to Sydney for the operation. .
Dr Teo hailed her as his ‘miracle girl’ after successfully removing 98% of the life-threatening brain tumor through experimental surgery.
In a lengthy social media post, Dr Teo spoke about Milli’s “simple but enlightening” legacy in a bid to raise funds for his eponymous brain cancer charity.
“There is nothing worse than the death of a child,” he wrote.
He said the teenager was “an outstanding example of how to get the most out of life” throughout her ongoing battle with cancer, which claimed her life in January 2021.
“In the face of adversity, you can be angry, resentful, bitter and consumed or you can accept the hand that has been dealt to you and make the most of what you have,” he said.
“(Milli) was an engaging and beautiful soul. When I think of every time I saw her, she always smiled. I loved him so much.
Brain cancer is the deadliest disease for children in Australia, but research is woefully underfunded, says Dr Teo.
“It has a significant socio-economic impact on our society as a killer of children and young people, yet governments are failing to invest in research funding,” he wrote.
“Brain cancer is not a common cancer, so simply put: it doesn’t win votes.”
The top brain surgeon has asked for donations to his charity, the Charlie Teo Foundation, which he says is dedicated to funding “desperately needed” brain cancer research.
“It’s not fair that children like Milli are dying and there is no treatment for them,” he said.
“I don’t want to have to tell another parent, ‘I can’t save your child’.”
In the social media post, Dr. Teo opened up about his passion for neurosurgery, which he admitted “hasn’t been an easy road.”
Despite his initial apprehensions about the field of neurosurgery, which he says he “dreads”, he says he is captivated by the room for improvement.
“It ticked all the boxes for being incredibly difficult and you could still be a pioneer in neurosurgery because so much was still unknown,” he wrote.
The surgeon compared himself to an “elite athlete” who tried to achieve the same focus and desire in a much higher stakes environment.
“I think it’s one of the most physically and emotionally taxing specialties in the medical field,” he writes.
“It’s totally ruthless. There is no margin for error. »
The brain surgeon made headlines in August last year when he was slapped with restrictive conditions on his medical record.
Following complaints from colleagues, the NSW Medical Council banned Dr Teo from performing high-risk surgeries without the written approval of a second independent neurosurgeon.
The colleague should have at least 20 years of experience and assess whether Dr. Teo has properly explained the risks and obtained financial consent from the patient. The Medical Board also required Dr. Teo to file monthly reports detailing his surgeries.
The restriction will remain in place until at least September 30 of this year.
The telling message comes as the Charlie Teo Foundation, which has celebrity ambassadors like surfer Kelly Slater and Australian Test cricketer Steve Smith, seeks to raise tax-deductible donations before the end of the financial year.