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Brain surgeon turns his operating theatre into live performance

Other News Materials 28 January 2011 10:34
Australia's best-known brain surgeon was lambasted by colleagues Friday for charging people to watch him at work at Sydney's Prince of Wales hospital.
Brain surgeon turns his operating theatre into live performance

Australia's best-known brain surgeon was lambasted by colleagues Friday for charging people to watch him at work at Sydney's Prince of Wales hospital, DPA reported.

Even though the tickets are auctioned and the proceeds go to charity, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons reckons Charlie Teo has breached ethical guidelines.

"Surgery isn't a spectator sport," the college's John Quinn said. "It's really quite a serious activity and often a life or death situation and viewing live surgery isn't regarded as appropriate behaviour."

Teo was also taken to task by Sydney University ethicist Simon Chapman, who said patients would be reluctant to refuse to have an audience for their surgery.

"If you're a patient who is undergoing a very serious procedure ... there's an inherent power imbalance there," Chapman said. "You probably would think twice about saying no."

But Teo told national broadcaster ABC that some patients, asked for similar consent, have felt able to refuse.

"The reason I do it is for the greater good of the community," Teo said in his defence. "To try and get more money into research, to try and tell people brain cancer is not just a name or a disease. I think this personal experience allows people to see that cancer affects you and me."

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