Sunday, November 13, 2011

UQ boss Professor Paul Greenfield goes to ground

Brisbane is a small city where not much happens (thankfully). There are the usual crimes of violence in certain areas late at night but nothing that deserves more than one mention in the papers.

So the story of a Jewish university head fleeing allegations of corruption is a lot of fun and Brisbane's local newpaper has made the most of it. Latest below:

Seven days after The Courier-Mail broke the enrolment scandal that has seen Prof Greenfield and his deputy, Prof Michael Keniger, agree to step down, the UQ boss continues to avoid facing the music.

The university has so far refused to reveal the full details of the "misunderstanding" that Prof Greenfield said had led to "irregularities" that benefited a close relative. It has also refused to say where Prof Greenfield is, what he is doing and why he continues to avoid answering questions from The Courier-Mail.

University security guards are stationed outside Prof Greenfield's home in exclusive riverside Indooroopilly, and his office remains empty.

He was also absent from his Peregian Beach holiday hideaway on the Sunshine Coast. The professor's last confirmed engagement was a review of the KAIST research institution in South Korea on Thursday.

"The enrolment decision was as the result of an unfortunate misunderstanding ... and a breakdown in the normal checks and balances that control such decisions," is the closest Prof Greenfield has come to an explanation, and that came on Wednesday, only after repeated pressure from this newspaper.

"As the two senior officers, (senior deputy vice-chancellor) Michael Keniger and I have accepted responsibility for this error and breakdown," the statement continued.

Yesterday, university security again asked The Courier-Mail to leave the UQ executive building.

Outside the vice-chancellor's home, his wife said he was not home and would not be returning for "a long time".

In his statement from Korea, Prof Greenfield was critical of the media scrutiny.

"While I am upset at the inappropriate media pressure on my family and UQ and the public attacks on my reputation, I am most concerned that UQ does not take its eye off the main game," he said. The university was "on a roll", he said. "There are numerous reasons for this, but one is that we do not engage in self-indulgent in-fighting."

Prof Greenfield made it clear he would not quit before the agreed date of June next year, after he turns 65. "We need your support over the next eight months so that the momentum is maintained," he said.


Your regulators will protect you -- NOT

SURGEONS continued to insert trouble-prone hip implants, placing hundreds of patients at risk for 18 months after manufacturers informed health officials of the product's "unacceptable" failure rate.

Documents filed with a Senate committee inquiry reveal three years of hesitation by a regulatory agency, at one point under pressure from medical device companies, after evidence emerged of the high rate of repeat surgery involving the Johnson & Johnson DePuy implants. Records of an expert group advising the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) show the group failed to meet for 18 months after Johnson & Johnson advised the government of the implant's "unacceptable" revision rate in May 2008.

At the next meeting, in December 2009, when it was announced the implants were to be withdrawn, the minutes show the TGA came under fire from members about the lack of meetings and for being "too weak and too slow" in dealing with implants experiencing high failure rates.

Johnson & Johnson has revealed it has "reimbursed" $21 million in claims from more than 3500 patients fitted with DePuy implants. The company is also facing two separate class actions over the implants.

Official estimates show about 5570 DePuy implants have been placed in patients in Australia and so far more than 430 have had to be removed and replaced in what are difficult, costly and painful operations. The documents submitted to the Senate community affairs inquiry show after the failure rate emerged, the company in September 2007 agreed with the TGA to "restrict supply" of the products to surgeons who had undergone specific training.

Johnson & Johnson was reported by the TGA in May 2008 to have said the overall use of DePuy products had dropped dramatically. But figures from the National Joint Replacement Registry show implants of the "resurfacing" product had fallen from 183 to 131 in the three years from 2007.

A separate DePuy hip product also came under suspicion but this was at first blamed on other components and 1210 of these products were implanted in 2008, 31 more than the previous year. Both products were removed from the market in December 2009 after persistent evidence of high failure rates.

Bob Lugton, who has had to have his DePuy hip replaced and lost significant mobility as a result, is campaigning for more rigorous regulation.

The disclosures by the TGA were "depressing", the retired engineering executive said. Surgeons had also been reluctant to notify patients of the emerging risk of the implants. he said.

The president of the Australian Orthopaedic Association, Graham Mercer, said the majority of surgeons altered their choice of implants due to the results of its national registry but there would always be those "who think they know better".

Dr Mercer said Johnson & Johnson trained some surgeons "but the revision rate remained unchanged".

A TGA spokeswoman would not comment on the issue yesterday, saying it would await the outcome of the inquiry.


NSW public hospital horror after man misdiagnosed with aggressive stomach cancer

GOSFORD dad Graham Lord prepared himself for the worst when he was told he had an aggressive stomach cancer. But the 59-year-old was determined to fight it. He endured seven gruelling sessions of chemotherapy, before undergoing surgery to remove 80 per cent of his gut.

Then he was given the devastating news: he never had cancer in the first place. An alleged bungle at a pathology lab at Gosford Hospital led to his misdiagnosis and Mr Lord is now suing the Central Coast Local Health District. He has shed 20kg. He can't eat sitting down. And he suffers anxiety and depression. "They told me I had cancer. I went through chemotherapy and they cut out my stomach," Mr Lord told The Sunday Telegraph.

Six weeks after his operation, according to a statement of claim lodged in the Supreme Court, doctors at Royal North Shore, where he had the surgery, told Mr Lord the initial diagnosis was wrong.

"After independent pathological review of the biopsies taken during the gastroscopy, the biopsy findings were wrong in that there was never any evidence of malignancy," the claim says.

Maurice Blackburn lawyer Anna Walsh said Mr Lord received an apology from the pathologist who originally reported on his tissue samples after Central Coast Local Health District had investigated the alleged incident.

"To find out I didn't have cancer. It was just devastating," he said this week. "I was numb. I just couldn't believe it. I thought he was going to tell me they found more cancer and then he told me the other way."

Mr Lord's ordeal began when he consulted a Gosford GP in July 2009 for reflux. He was sent to have a gastric biopsy and the tissue was examined by staff at Palm Pathology, Gosford Hospital.

"I was told one of the areas biopsied has an aggressive cancer," he said from his home in Gosford."My wife just fell apart, she didn't stop crying for three days, and it was very distressing."

Mr Lord said he was convinced the cancer would kill him. He started chemotherapy at Gosford Hospital in October. "I was very ill," he said of the treatment. Then, on January 29 last year Mr Lord had the gastrectomy at Royal North Shore Hospital, where most of his stomach was removed.

It wasn't until the post surgery review six weeks later at Royal North Shore he learned the extraordinary news. "I was told that the tissue taken from me during that gastrectomy was examined through the pathology department at Royal North Shore and the lymph nodes that were taken out showed no evidence of cancer," he said. "The tissue samples were sent to Royal Prince Alfred for study and again that came back with no evidence of malignancy."

"I am still very angry. Psychologically I am not over what has happened I don't know if I ever will. I still have the dreams about it and wake up in a sweat about it. I have lost about 20kg in weight.

Mr Lord, through lawyers Maurice Blackburn, has lodged a Supreme Court claim for injury, loss and damage suffered from the alleged misdiagnosis. A spokesman for the Central Coast Health District said it was inappropriate to comment on the legal matter and they had not yet filed a defence.


Adelaide Christians fulfil their duty as prescribed in Leviticus 19:17

THE opening march of Adelaide's Feast Festival was last night marred by controversial street preachers. About a dozen members of the Adelaide Street Church marched alongside more than 1000 members of the gay and lesbian community in the CBD, yelling into amplifiers and holding placards.

The protesters were jeered by onlookers lining the streets, and marchers blew whistles in their faces and pulled at their signs.

Police officers marched close to the preachers, keeping festival-goers a short distance away from them. As the marchers queued to go into the opening-night party of the festival at Light Square, the preachers continued to harass the marchers, some of whom used hand fans to tap on the preachers as they spoke.

The preachers left once the crowd had gone into the party.

The march was otherwise peaceful, with loud music played from floats, and many people dancing their way from Victoria Square to Light Square. The arts and cultural festival will run for two weeks.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Seeing as they are fulfilling their Levitical duties, I hope they kept away from the Prawn Cocktail at the after-march party. I doubt the Muslims, doing their similar "Koranic" duties would get as much sympathy though.

I guess if the Jews were there doing their "Talmudic" duty they'd be the ones selling the loudspeakers.