A/Prof. Andrew J Brooks
You will recall that, back in 2014, as a male in my 70s, I was referred to you by my GP for help with what is commonly called the “frequency problem” – I was having to get up two or three times a night to urinate, which made it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Your diagnosis was that, from years of having to force urine past a partially blocked urinary tract, my bladder had become more muscular and therefore smaller, and so was filling up more quickly. The solution you advocated was that you carry out on operation on me, called a TURP, in which any partial blockages in my urinary tract would be removed, and if these were removed, my bladder would soon revert to a more normal size, largely within 3 months.
Following an initial consultation with you, which I had on 5 August, 2014, you wrote to my GP, claiming, amongst other things, that “he has had no response to oral agents over several years,” which of course wasn’t true, a figment of your imagination – seeing my GP and you was the first and only thing I’d done about my frequency problem.
Going ahead with this operation involved paying you a fee of $3,200 for, as I’ve been told, less than an hours work, and 48 hours in a hospital at a cost of $4,800, but I trusted you, and had your operation on 13 August, 2014. As I subsequently found out, an alternative diagnosis, a much more likely diagnosis, would have been that my bladder was still relatively normal in size, but that, in fact, it had grown weaker, weaker to the point that quite a lot of urine was left in it after I urinated, and that was the reason it was being full again sooner, and nothing could be done about weak bladders – no $3,200 fees for anyone.
Obviously the size of my bladder at the time was crucial in deciding which diagnosis was the right one. To support your diagnosis, you had your nurse carry out the tests to determine it’s size. I’ve since learnt that it would have been more normal to have a proper Urologist carry out these tests – who would, in fact, have charged less that was charged for your nurse to carry them out. AND, despite all my efforts int the years since, Ive never been able to get a copy of what your nurse reported. On 15 September 2015, I sat you a fax saying, “Could you please send me, as a matter of urgency, copies of the health information you hold on me, in particular the “urodynamic study” you relied on when you advised me that a transurethral resection of my prostate would help with my frequency problems” – a fax which you ignored, of course. When I subsequently sought the assistance of the NSW Privacy Commissioner to get a copy, advising her that, amongst other things, you had ignored 3 emails I’d sent you requesting copies of things to which I was legally entitled, you will recall that your response to her was that you hadn’t received my emails because your email address was set up in such a way that it “weeded out” emails from patients so you didn’t receive them – this, despite the the fact that I’m advised by technology people that setting up an email address in this way isn’t possible, and that when I’d sent you one email, an email enquiring about how best to pay your $3,200 fee, it was acknowledged and responded to extremely promptly. Eventually, with the help of the Privacy Commissioner, I did get a copy of 2 or 3 documents – but never a copy of your nurse’s report. Even the Privacy Commissioner gave up on this. The obvious suspicion is that it didn’t support your diagnosis at all.
So, as I say, I had the TURP. AND, you yourself admitted in writing that it hadn’t helped in any way. On 9 September, 2014, you wrote to my referring GP, claiming, “He has had a significant improvement in flow rate since undergoing transurethral of the prostate. He still has significant frequency and urgency,” and mentioning for the first time, you hadn’t mentioned it before, that what you had put me through only worked in 4 cases out of 5, it didn’t work at all in 1 case out of 5, obviously suggesting that I was one of those 1 cases out of 5.
Three things are to be said about this.
Firstly, how would you have known that there had been a significant flow rate? You would think that a physical examination would be required to ermine whether this was the case or not – and there had been no physical examination. It would seem that you were claiming this just because it sounded good.
Secondly, you mentioned for the first time an “urgency” problem – what urgency problem? To me this was another figment of your imagination. I’d never had an urgency problem.
Thirdly, who was to say that it ever worked? You were admitting that it hadn’t worked in my case, but who was to say it had worked in other cases? What evidence was there for this?
On 18 November, 2014, after another consultation, when you again wrote to my referring GP, you more or less repeated what you’d said in your letter of the 9 September, 2014, but added an explanation as to why what you’d put me through hadn’t worked in my case – “this is due to the altered bladder wall compliance and loss of functional volume that occurs and occasionally does not remit following relief of the the out flow obstruction,” whatever that means. And also adding, “I have prescribed Oxytrol patches,” which you seemed to think would help with my alleged “urgency” problem. Trusting you again, I paid for some Oxytrol patches and started applying them. But then I Googled “Oxytrol patches” and the results indicated that they were for the treatment of problems that I just didn’t have, and so I trashed them.
And something you didn’t mention in any of your correspondence – your TURP had diminished my sex life for the rest of my life, it can’t be reversed, in that the semen I produced during an orgasm was no longer ejected trough my penis giving me all the pleasure this involves, as any male would understand, it’s just pumped up into my bladder. And this doesn’t happen sometime with TURP operations, it ALWAYS happens. Despite your claim in your first letter to my referring GP, that you “had explained the risks and complications” of the TURP operation, you had never mentioned this. One can imagine that if a thug bashed someone causing this damage to his sex life for the rest of his life, that this thug would end up being sent to gaol, perhaps for a very long time. But in my case it was caused by a doctor who was supposed to be helping me.
Four or five days ago, for the fifth time, someone rang me claiming to be speaking on your behalf and requesting that I take down the material I have put up on the internet about my experiences with you. My response has always been the same – that I would be happy to add your side of the story, but that I’ve sent you at least 30 letters, by email, fax and snail mail, giving you the opportunity to tell your side of the story, and I’ve never heard from you. Again, may I say, I would be happy to publish your side of the story.