Deregistered cancer doctor in denial about risking 6,770 lives

A former Sydney skin cancer doctor who may have jeopardised the health of thousands of his former patients is apparently planning to appeal against his deregistration.

Following a Health Department investigation which revealed serious concerns about the treatment of some of David Lindsay's patients received at the Mid-City Skin Cancer Centre in George Street, in Sydney's CBD, health authorities have contacted 6,770 of his former patients who may have missed out on crucial skin cancer treatment.

Concerns were first raised last year with regard to billing practices at the clinic and the Health Care Complaints Commissioner Keiran Pehm says Mr Lindsay was deregistered two months ago, after authorities received at least 60 complaints dating back to 1993.

Complaints had been made about Mr Lindsay's rudeness and his threats of litigation against those who complained about him. Mr Lindsay reportedly intimidated patients and issues of consent about treatment of patients were raised which prompted a review into treatment his patients had received.

The NSW Medical Tribunal found him guilty of professional misconduct in August and he was prosecuted for over 26 complaints, which had escalated at an "alarming rate" since 2005.

Most complaints were related to his behaviour and Mr Lindsay was found to have abused his patients and their families when they complained about his treatment and was guilty of a "significant lack of clinical skills" in three cases, two of which "could be said to have demonstrated cruelty".

An expert panel which looked at the test results of more than 9,000 people found the former GP had not removed enough of the cancer or surrounding tissue in some cases and lesions were misdiagnosed.

According to the acting chief health officer, Kerry Chant, inadequate record keeping meant some patients who needed further cancer surgery could have missed out and Mr Lindsay's 'watch-and-see approach' has been criticised.

Nearly 7,000 patients have been contacted and told to see a doctor, while 1,300 high-risk patients have been told not to delay, and the NSW Medical Board is urging any patients with complaints to come forward.

The tribunal also found Mr Lindsay had "a delusional disorder of a persecutory type" and refused to accept fault - he also lied in medical notes and blamed others when his errors were exposed.

Dr. Chant said the department was concerned for the welfare of at least 1,310 patients with serious skin cancers because it was not clear whether they received any follow-up appointments and some had not been properly treated.

Dr. Chant said she was unable to say how many of the 6,770 patients treated for skin cancers and other skin lesions had inadequate excises.

Mr Lindsay has appealed against the tribunal's decision and insists his patients have always been managed properly and appropriately followed up.

The skin cancer clinic where he practiced for nine years is now for sale.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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