An email just, on 18/4/21, sent to Sue Dawson. the Health Care Complaints Commissioner, by one of our readers. As any one who has dealt with Ms Dawson would know, if they use what appears to be her email address – HCCC@HCCC.nsw.gov.au – to send her emails, they only end up with automated responses indicating that they’ve sent her AN email, never with proof that they’ve sent her any particular email – a totally unsatisfactory situation, which will obviously continue while we, the people of New South Wales and the Berejiklian Government, continue to put up with it! In an attempt to deal with this situation, we always encourage our readers to use the ordinary email address of one of her officers to send copies of such emails, as we have on this occasion – at least, if this is done, readers end up with proof that a particular email has been sent to someone in the HCCC. At least, so far – knowing Dawson as we do, emails sent to him will probably start resulting in only receiving automated responses as well!
Ms Sue Dawson
Health Care Complaints Commissioner
I would be obliged if you could arrange for the Commission’s decision to dismiss the complaint I lodged about Dr Andrew J Brooks, Urologist, to be reviewed.
There’s a sense in which the facts of this matter, on which I based my complaint, are incredibly simple.
As a 78 year old, I was referred to Brooks for help with a problem I was experiencing, described as the “frequency problem,” common in seniors – during the night, I was having to get up 2 or 3 times to urinate, which made it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. And not only did the operation under a full anaesthetic which he recommended, called a TURP, and which I underwent, not help in any way, (I would have still had it exactly the same years later if I hadn’t got help from another doctor,) but it damaged me, severely diminishing my sex life for the rest of my life, it is always happens with TURPs, ALWAYS, and can’t be reversed!
Brooks’ explanation for my “frequency problem” was that my bladder had become muscular and therefor smaller from years of having to force urine past partial blockages in my urinary tract, down to a capacity of about 200 mls, forcing me to urinate more often as it was full more often. That the claim that the capacity of my bladder was down to 200 mls was an absolute LIE would seem to have been established by the fact that at least 10 requests for copies of any of the results of his tests which would confirm this have been sent to Brooks, by email, email form, fax, and Australia Post, copies to which I’m entitled by law under the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 No 71, all of which Brooks hasn’t even acknowledged, let alone responded to. When I sought the help of the NSW Privacy Commissioner to get any such copies, he told her that he hadn’t been getting any of my emails, because the email address on his website was set up so that it “weeded out” emails from his patients so he didn’t get them??? (What sort of doctor would even contemplate setting up any email addresses he has in that way, let alone doing it?)- something which my technical advisers tell me isn’t possible, and when I sent him an email asking for details as to how best to pay him his $3,200 fee it was acknowledged and responded with alacrity, and even when he had to acknowledge he’d received them, he still didn’t provide any copies. In effect, Brooks just laughed in the Privacy Commissioner’s face??? And he’s such a “crook” that breaking the law would be the least of his worries. It would appear elementary that there is no evidence to back up his claim – although, again, Brooks is such a “crook” that he may well, now, fabricate some, and present them to your Commission, just as he’s obviously fabricated the copies of any letters he’s claimed, in his 10 Feb. 2021 letter to the Commission, to have sent me, because I’ve only ever received one – the one about how best to send him his $3,200 fee.
Brooks went on to claim that, during his TURP, these partial blockages would be removed, and that, as a result, my bladder would be back to a more normal size, say, with a capacity of about 330 mls, largely within 6 months for so, and that this would ensure that I no longer had the “frequency problem.” The problem about this for Brooks was that, 8 months later, it was independently certified by another Urologist, that it then DID have a capacity of 33o mls, but I still had the frequency problem??? Strongly indicating, I would have thought, that this claim was another absolute lie.
As I learnt later, the most likely explanation for all this was that that my bladder always had a relatively normal capacity of about 330 mls, even when I first saw Brooks, but it had become weak, again something common in seniors, too weak to empty properly during urinations, so there was always quite a lot of urine left in it after I’d urinated, and that this was the reason why it was full more often. But the problem about this explanation for Brooks was that nothing could/can be done about weak bladders, and so he had to make up his fairly tales about it being small and so on to justify recommending the TURP, for which he would get $3,200 for less than an hour’s work in carrying it out.
Most people would think that Brooks was nothing short of EVIL – for deliberately setting out to carry out treatment which he knew full well, in advance, would leave me damaged for life, and which he knew full well, in advance, wouldn’t help me in any way with my frequency problem, unless my bladder was small, when he’s always refused to provide copies of anything which might indicate that it was – just so he could get his greedy hands on $3,200 for less than an hour’s work. But the person or people in your Commission who dismissed my complaint were obviously comfortable with it, advising that, “We have not identified a deficiency in the clinical care and treatment provided to you by Dr Brooks???”
But perhaps the explanation for my complaint being dismissed is that the Commission has taken the view that I have no basis to complain in that I was properly warned, that, amongst other things, I would inevitably be damaged life, and that there was only an 80% chance that I would be helped in any way, with nothing in writing, of course, but that I still chose to go ahead with Brooks’ clinical care and treatment!!!
(By the way, Brooks was the one who claimed that there was always only an 80% chance of his clinical care and treatment working – when, on the basis of the above, there was NO CHANCE!!!)
(Recently, with another doctor, I was required to confirm in writing that all sorts of things had been explained to me, when all I was about to have was treatment for wax in one of my ears! – which I would have thought was what more normally happens. With Brooks, he didn’t require anything in writing from me when he was about to damage me for life!!! And for the Commission it seems it was/is good enough that Brooks had written to my GP, “I have explained the risks and complications.”)
In his letter to the Commission dated 10 February, 2021, Dr Brooks says, “I would usually discuss the alterations to sexual function and the loss of ejaculation” – in other words it appears that even Brooks doesn’t claim that he DID discuss them. But it seems that this hasn’t stopped the Commission from postulating that Brooks DID properly explain all the risks and complications, including the alterations to sexual function and the loss of ejacultaion, and the fact that there was only an 80% chance, or perhaps no chance, that his clinical care and treatment would help in any way, and that my response was something like,”I don’t care if my sex life is largely ruined for the rest of my life, so long as there’s a chance that I won’t have to get up 2 or 3 times a night to go to the toilet.” In other words, that although I’m highly educated, having topped my year at Law School, and having two other University degrees, as well as my Law degree, that I’m really STARK RAVING MAD!!!
To me, there can only be one explanation for many of the aspects of how Brooks has conducted himself in this matter – and that is that there have been others who’ve had experiences with similar to mine, perhaps exactly like mine, surely I can’t be the only one, and that when they’ve made complaints to your Commission like mine, they have been dismissed as well, filling him with confidence that mine will be completely dismissed as well, leaving him free to collect quick $3,200 fees from others as well.
Looking forward to hearing from you.