Dr Vega Vega returned to active practise as a surgeon

A ROCKHAMPTON doctor accused of botching a surgery has argued he consulted widely before undertaking the complex procedure.

Antonio Vega Vega said he had often referred matters to other specialists or transferred matters to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, where he had visiting rights, if required.

He told the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal that he would do that if he did not believe the Rockhampton hospital had sufficient infrastructure to deal with highly complex cases or he needed support.

But the Spanish-trained doctor defended his decision to treat a patient with kidney problems at Rockhampton that has landed him before the tribunal.

"No one raised any concern that this operation was above the competencies of myself or Rockhampton and I proceed to do the operation," he said.

Dr Vega Vega is allowed to practise again after the Queensland Medical Board revoked a suspension on Friday but a supervision condition was imposed.

QCAT, which has reserved its decision until Friday, is reviewing the board's suspension, its refusal to accept Dr Vega Vega's decision to withdraw a self-imposed undertaking not to practise and the imposed condition.

The doctor testified the surgery, usually two to four hours, blew out to seven hours because of bleeding complications.

He said neither he, nor any of the colleagues he consulted, had foreseen that the kidneys could have shifted place because of other health difficulties for that patient.

Dr Vega Vega said the kidney he removed was infected, and had more adhesions than expected, so he had no idea he removed the wrong kidney.

Other doctors submitted their views to QCAT, with most supporting Dr Vega Vega but one disagreed.

Barrister Chris Wilson said the medical board believed there should be supervised consultation for a set period.

He noted this kidney surgery was one of five treatment complaints.

"He did make that error," he said.

"Now he wouldn't do it but he did it in January.

"There's a high degree of probability that other complex procedures will present to Dr Vega Vega.

"In those limited cases, it is appropriate to protect these patients with those conditions he be required to consult with a senior colleague."

Barrister Stephen Keim, acting for Dr Vega Vega, said Rockhampton was a small place and yet many people had thrown their support behind his client.

"He's got a good record in terms of low complications in all of the surgery that he carries out," he said.

Mr Keim asked for QCAT to set aside all the board decisions thus far and wipe Dr Vega Vega's slate clean to maintain his reputation.


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