'Survivor' wants life ban for doctor
An Auckland woman who was the victim of a failed sterilisation by disgraced doctor Roman Hasil says he should never be allowed to practise medicine again.
Hasil, a former Whanganui obstetrician and gynaecologist, has not been able to practise in New Zealand or Australia since he was found guilty of botching eight female sterilisations while working at Whanganui Hospital.
However, he is now trying to re-register in Australia so he can resume work.
One of his victims, Rachael Veale, 36, is speaking out about her experience for the first time because she doesn't want Hasil to ever practise again.
In January 2006, Veale and her then-husband agreed she would have a sterilisation as they felt their family of two daughters was complete.
However, in October of that year - after her marriage had broken up - Veale learned she was five weeks pregnant.
''I thought how can this be happening? I had surgery so I thought there was no chance of me getting pregnant.''
She said that for a number of reasons she was not in a position to have another child, and terminated the pregnancy.
''I sorted it all in one day. I didn't have time to think. The thinking came after. The thinking happens everyday."
After seeing an old school friend at a Whanganui park the two shared their experiences and discovered they were both victims of Hasil's errors.
Images of Veale's fallopian tubes clearly showed the surgery was not effective.
''You don't have to be a doctor to see how he botched the sterilisation,'' she said.
''I put my fate in his hands. It angers me he's even being given the opportunity to practise again.''
In 2007 Veale underwent a corrective tubal ligation but struggled to trust the doctor who performed it.
''I had an x-ray and made them show me it had worked,'' she said.
Veale, who now works in advertising in Auckland, said if she were to sell an advert at the wrong price she would have to face the consequences, yet Hasil had had no ramifications for his life-changing mistakes.
''If I had the chance I would say to Roman: I carry this with me everyday. Think about if someone did this to your wife, daughter, or granddaughter.''
When Veale's 16-year-old daughter learned her mother had terminated a child she went to live with her father.
''She texted me and said I'm not coming home because of what you did.''
Her partner Richard Bates has shared her struggles.
''Whether she admits it or not there is no way of getting the question 'did I do the right thing' out of Rachael's head,'' he said.
''As a guy you want to fix things, you don't want to complain but there is nothing I can do. For me it's a feeling of helplessness.''
Veale said it still felt like a nightmare and Bates continued to pick up the pieces of the mess Hasil created.
''They say when a baby is five weeks old it's not really a baby but I knew my body. I put a name to that baby,'' she said.
''I'm sharing my story not just for me. This is for all Roman's survivors because we're not victims, we're survivors.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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