Australian Surgeon deliberately mutilates women's genitals

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Australian Surgeon deliberately mutilates women's genitals

Postby loomer » 2008-02-27 10:03am

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CANBERRA - Allegations of horrific mutilation of female patients by a doctor with a history of mental illness have emerged from the town of Bega on the New South Wales south coast.

In a valley famed for its cheese and herds of Friesian and Jersey cows, police and medical authorities are now - belatedly - investigating Graeme Reeves, dubbed the Butcher of Bega by the Australian media.

For years, patients who had allegedly suffered sexual abuse and deliberate mutilation of their genitals during operations performed by Reeves had kept silent from fear or shame.

But the dam broke when one of his former patients, Carolyn Dewaegeneire, told her story to Channel Nine's Sunday programme, describing in terrifying detail the surgery she underwent in 2002 at Pambula Hospital, one of the two in which Reeves worked.

As she was slipping under a general anaesthetic for an operation to remove a lesion from her labia, she said Reeves whispered in her ear.

"As he put the mask over my face, to send me into unconsciousness, he leaned right over me - and I'll never forget this to my dying day - and said `I'm going to take your clitoris too'." All her external genitalia were removed in the operation.

Now as many as 500 former patients have sent similar accounts to the Medical Error Group, a pressure group established a decade ago by activist Lorraine Long, whose mother died after three doctors misdiagnosed an asthma attack.

The allegations are being investigated amid calls for a full inquiry into yet another appalling failure in a health system that has suffered a serious of fatal blunders.

The case has been compared to that of "Dr Death", Indian surgeon Jayant Patel, who fled to the United States after claims he had caused as many as 17 deaths during his time at Queensland's Bundaberg Base Hospital. Australian authorities are now seeking Patel's extradition from the US.

In New South Wales, police and medical authorities have urged former patients to add their stories to a list that allegedly includes the unintended loss of a kidney during surgery and the stitching or removal of parts of genitals. One woman said Reeves performed a hysterectomy during an operation to repair her bladder.

Others have reported cases of sexual assault, including one woman who claimed Reeves had fondled her genitals and breasts during an examination after a miscarriage. He allegedly told a patient that he liked women who waxed their pubic hair because they "looked like little girls".


Earlier in his career Reeves is alleged to have caused the death of one patient and endangered the life of another by refusing to prescribe antibiotics. The Sunday Telegraph reported that more than a decade ago the NSW Medical Board had ruled that Reeves had psychiatric problems which "detrimentally affect his mental capacity to practise medicine".

He survived the finding, but in 1997 was ordered to stop work as an obstetrician. He sidestepped this by leaving Sydney and moving to Bega, which was desperate for medical specialists and accepted his word without fully checking his record.

In 2004 he was struck off for "gross professional misconduct of the most serious kind" in failing to obey the ban on performing obstetrics.


Goddamn it, people. We're trying to get people to stop this shit in Africa, lets not start it over here too.
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Postby Aaron » 2008-02-27 10:16am

Wait a sec, none of the other OR staff thought to question what he was doing?
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Postby loomer » 2008-02-27 10:19am

That's rather disconcerting. It means either they're all fucking idiots, or they're in on it as well.
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Postby tim31 » 2008-02-27 10:49am

I remember reading about this guy a month or two ago, but yeah... Talk about dam bursting.

I have no idea how the rest of the people in theatre that day didn't see something amiss, unless the surgeon had fucked around with the paperwork beforehand as well.
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Postby Darth Wong » 2008-02-27 11:18am

The guy is obviously a sociopath, judging by the way he whispered to the woman that he was going to cut off her clitoris before she slipped under. He clearly enjoys inflicting suffering on people and then laughing about it. I wonder if surgeons command a certain level of automatic deference which makes subordinates reluctant to question their actions.

I also wonder if the local government will face lawsuits as a result of their decision to hire this guy despite his being declared unfit for duty.
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Postby Edi » 2008-02-27 11:29am

That shitlicking pigfucker deserves to die. The horror of what he's done is completely indescribable.

As far as the rest of the operating room staff not saying anything and tackling the problem this asshole poses means they should, all of them, be fired and barred from the medical profession for the rest of their lives. There is no excuse for this, none whatsoever.
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Postby The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-02-27 11:48am

Edi wrote:That shitlicking pigfucker deserves to die. The horror of what he's done is completely indescribable.

As far as the rest of the operating room staff not saying anything and tackling the problem this asshole poses means they should, all of them, be fired and barred from the medical profession for the rest of their lives. There is no excuse for this, none whatsoever.


Try everyone in that Hospital should be barred from the medical profession for life--or, in fact, any profession with a code of conduct.
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Postby Gil Hamilton » 2008-02-27 11:56am

I got the part where the guy is a crazy psychopath, but what I don't understand is how he could have gotten away with it for so long. Surgeons DON'T operate alone, they've got assistants and then doctors check up on post-op patients, even if it is just to see how they are doing and if they've got any infection or anything. There is no way he could have done what they describe without SOMEONE else knowing about it.

Thus, the sickness in that hospital may well go well beyond the one surgeon. It's possible he's a senior surgeon and the people who do know about it are afraid for their careers or the surgical assistants simply believed the doctor when he said it was necessary, but at the same time, that's some real sick making stuff and they are accountable for not immediately trying to stop him or reporting him to the hospital directors. If these allegations are remotely true, that OR needs to have a lengthy stay in prison.
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Postby Korvan » 2008-02-27 01:09pm

I'm surprised that none of his patients or their families have come after this guy, and not necessarily in a legal sense. The article mentioned 500 incidents of this, you'd think that someone would've at least gone for some "eye for an eye" sort of justice.

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Postby Darth Wong » 2008-02-27 01:10pm

So can they surgically castrate this guy against his will? It's too bad that such a creative punishment would never be used.
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Postby Eulogy » 2008-02-27 01:27pm

Darth Wong wrote:So can they surgically castrate this guy against his will? It's too bad that such a creative punishment would never be used.


Who says it has to be surgical?

Anyway, I still wonder if it's now possible to replace clits and foreskins. And if this guy is going to be killed by his victims or thier friends/family.

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Postby Aaron » 2008-02-27 04:02pm

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
Try everyone in that Hospital should be barred from the medical profession for life--or, in fact, any profession with a code of conduct.


That's a little excessive, I doubt the staff in the geriatric ward or the truama ward are aware of what's been going on, seeing as his specialty is obstetrics. Anyone connected with him should be investigated though, especially the OR staff. It's pretty inconcievable that they wouldn't know what's going on unless he's gone to great lengths to make this seem on the up and up.
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Postby SCRawl » 2008-02-27 04:19pm

Eulogy wrote:Anyway, I still wonder if it's now possible to replace clits and foreskins. And if this guy is going to be killed by his victims or thier friends/family.


The nerve endings would be the issue. Cosmetically I'm sure they can do something, but it would just be for show.
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Postby Simplicius » 2008-02-27 06:50pm

That's damned vile. I'd like to see him swing.

As the article says, this really was a top-to-bottom fuckup. He got a license to practice, for one. His career wasn't ended by a hearing that openly acknowledged that he's a psychiatric case. He got hired by another hospital that didn't check his record because it had staff slots to fill. My question is: are there measures being put in place to keep monstrous people like this out of the system, and are efforts to alleviate staff shortages in place?

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Postby The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-02-27 07:21pm

Cpl Kendall wrote:
The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
Try everyone in that Hospital should be barred from the medical profession for life--or, in fact, any profession with a code of conduct.


That's a little excessive, I doubt the staff in the geriatric ward or the truama ward are aware of what's been going on, seeing as his specialty is obstetrics. Anyone connected with him should be investigated though, especially the OR staff. It's pretty inconcievable that they wouldn't know what's going on unless he's gone to great lengths to make this seem on the up and up.


I more intended that to refer to the hospital administration. Frankly, everyone above this guy in whatever chain of command he was operating under should be sacked, right up to the manager of the hospital, along with anyone in that chain previously who isn't now, and they should be banned from any kind of professional work whatsoever.
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Postby Gullible Jones » 2008-02-27 11:08pm

Again, I can't understand how shit like that could possibly go unreported. I suppose he could have been threatening the people who worked with him, and they all could have bought into it, but still... Holy fuck.

(Or maybe this is Stanley Milgram type stuff, with people obeying "orders" no matter what. I swear, it's fucking disgusting how easily the human mind can be twisted.)

Meanwhile, what the fuck is this?

Earlier in his career Reeves is alleged to have caused the death of one patient and endangered the life of another by refusing to prescribe antibiotics. The Sunday Telegraph reported that more than a decade ago the NSW Medical Board had ruled that Reeves had psychiatric problems which "detrimentally affect his mental capacity to practise medicine".

He survived the finding, but in 1997 was ordered to stop work as an obstetrician. He sidestepped this by leaving Sydney and moving to Bega, which was desperate for medical specialists and accepted his word without fully checking his record.


All they did was ban him from obstetrics? And they didn't check his record in Bega? Why didn't this guy get the boot? Is there any screening for incurable, untreatable mental cases?

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Postby Broomstick » 2008-02-27 11:12pm

Eulogy wrote:Anyway, I still wonder if it's now possible to replace clits and foreskins.

No, it's not.

Although a crude "cosmetic" reconstruction can be attempted it never looks anywhere as good as the original equipment, and the nerve functions are forever lost.
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Postby Stark » 2008-02-28 12:23am

The Duchess of Zeon wrote: I more intended that to refer to the hospital administration. Frankly, everyone above this guy in whatever chain of command he was operating under should be sacked, right up to the manager of the hospital, along with anyone in that chain previously who isn't now, and they should be banned from any kind of professional work whatsoever.


These ARE the guys who didn't bother checking his record. I can't imagine how they aren't partially responsible, or providing misinformatin to keep people silent.

I'm not sure what the time period here is (ie, if the 500 cases are from after 1997 or before) but this is a pretty staggering pace of abuse. Given the riduclous nature of the events ('oh yeah I removed her uterus as well... I dunno... cause... 'n stuff') it seems difficult to imagine that this wasn't extremely obvious in records, even without anyone coming forward.

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Postby Walsh » 2008-02-28 04:36am

This is the same doctor who delivered my older sister when she was born 25 years ago.
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Postby Aaron » 2008-02-28 07:02am

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
I more intended that to refer to the hospital administration. Frankly, everyone above this guy in whatever chain of command he was operating under should be sacked, right up to the manager of the hospital, along with anyone in that chain previously who isn't now, and they should be banned from any kind of professional work whatsoever.


Ahh, understood.

Gullible Jones wrote:All they did was ban him from obstetrics? And they didn't check his record in Bega? Why didn't this guy get the boot? Is there any screening for incurable, untreatable mental cases?


Medical Colleges are notorious for doing the absolute minimum that they have to when they punish someone, look after your own and all that.
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Postby Molyneux » 2008-02-28 07:44am

Walsh wrote:This is the same doctor who delivered my older sister when she was born 25 years ago.


Holy fuck, I can see how that'd be disquieting...glad this sick fuck's tastes only ran to adult women, and he didn't do anything to your mother.
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Postby tim31 » 2008-02-28 08:56am

Gullible Jones wrote:All they did was ban him from obstetrics? And they didn't check his record in Bega? Why didn't this guy get the boot? Is there any screening for incurable, untreatable mental cases?


The state of rural healthcare in this country, especially pertaining to O&G, is fairly ordinary. However, the reactions to this case have already been felt; as I previously mentioned, this guy was busted a little while back but the personal testimonies have only started flowing in the last week. My father does not private practice any more and does locum work all over the country based out of Sydney, mostly to regional areas. Since last month he's had to file a lot more paperwork before he starts the locum- even in hospitals he has worked in previously.
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Postby mr friendly guy » 2008-02-28 07:27pm

I can try to explain why this was missed by other medical staff. Note this is not so much a justification, but just an explanation.

1) If this the rural area with the doctor shortage, he may be the only doctor checking up on the post op status of his patients, unlike a metropolitan hospital where he has a trainee doctor and a intern/RMO with him. So he certainly isn't going to report his own crimes.

2) The anaesthetist most certainly will not look at what Dr Reeves is doing. Their job is to monitor the patients vitals and keep them anaesthetisted. Most of the time all goes well and the anaesthetist just sits there looking at the screen being bored. But they need to be read in case something goes wrong, and that will need their full time attention.

However, the article seemed to indicate that Reeves may have done his own anaesthetic (since he put the mask over the patient, a task usually done by the anaesthetist). In rural areas some doctors are specialist in several fields, for example in the old days GPs could have O & G, anaesthetic qualifications as well.

It may be possible that this rural hospital accepted that while having the same doctor as both the surgeon and anaesthetist is not ideal, with a doctor shortage they were willing to accept that so at least some operations get done.

3) Again with the doctor shortage, he may be the only doctor operating (there will be nursing assistants ). So there won't be a trainee doctor assisting who will likely notice something fishy.

4) Hiding what he has done from the other assistants will be harder. Its conceivable he can do what he has done even with the assistants, since their job is to pass around tools, use retractors, siphon blood off etc. If there wasn't much bleeding they may just be asked to pass the tools and they may not get a good view of the operation (especially if they have to try and look over Dr Reeves).

It will be difficult to hide it AFTER the operation has been done. Especially after the hysterectomy the uterus isn't just going to be vanishing into thin air and has to be disposed off properly. I guess he could have spun it that something unexpected came up and he needed to do more. No doubt the investigations that follow will find out more.
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Postby Sea Skimmer » 2008-02-28 07:48pm

mr friendly guy wrote: It may be possible that this rural hospital accepted that while having the same doctor as both the surgeon and anaesthetist is not ideal, with a doctor shortage they were willing to accept that so at least some operations get done.


Even in major hospitals its not at all uncommon these days for an anaesthetist to only be present for part of an operation, the monitoring job then being taken over by someone else who costs less then 100,000 a year to have around.
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Postby Walsh » 2008-02-28 11:36pm

Molyneux wrote:
Walsh wrote:This is the same doctor who delivered my older sister when she was born 25 years ago.


Holy fuck, I can see how that'd be disquieting...glad this sick fuck's tastes only ran to adult women, and he didn't do anything to your mother.

I spoke with my parents about it last night. Reeves was in charge of the birthing unit at the time, and they said that he was a very nice guy, he even offered to take my father out to the movies or to the pub to help him calm down a bit while my mother was asleep a while before the birth.

According to my father, he was working an insane schedule. He wouldn't leave the hospital for up to 3 days at a time, and that was not a rare occurrence. My father thinks that his work load, combined with his divorce (which apparently happened much later), drove him over the edge.
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