Top Australian surgeon branded incompetent, dishonest

Other News Materials 7 April 2008 06:32 (UTC +04:00)

One of Australia's most celebrated trauma surgeons faces the sack for incompetence and for billing the health service for operations that never took place, news reports said Monday. ( dpa )

German-born Professor Thomas Kossmann, currently suspended from his post of director of trauma surgery at the Alfred Hospital and Melbourne's Monash University, could also face criminal charges, The Australian reported.

The paper quoted the findings of an expert panel set up by the hospital three months ago to investigate complaints by Kossmann's colleagues and to look at his clinical performance.

"The nature of these practices and decision-making was beyond any level of accepted behaviour and standard of care and was flawed in its conception and harmful in its effect," the panel reported.

Kossmann, who was associate professor of surgery at University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, before arriving in Australia in 2001, has denied the charges.

"If I've got it wrong, I'm pretty sure other people have got it wrong," Kossmann told national broadcaster ABC when the complaints were first made. "If you look retrospective, things are looking different, but if you want to save somebody's life and you do it under, let's say, under such extreme conditions, you decide on the spot."

Kossmann has two weeks to comment on the findings of the panel, which also called into question his understanding of science.

"All panel members are of the opinion that if an orthopedic candidate in his/her final exam had given the answers that the professor had given, they would have seriously considered failing that candidate," the report declared.