Marlborough surgeon under investigation resigns
A surgeon at the centre of a criminal investigation into surgery deaths at Wairau Hospital in Blenheim has resigned.
Zimbabwe-born doctor Michael Parry handed in his resignation during mediation with Nelson Marlborough District Health Board officials on Tuesday.
Board chief executive Chris Fleming said Dr Parry remained in employment on leave without pay until his resignation date.
That resignation date remained confidential, Mr Fleming said.
''Until his resignation date, Mike has resigned, but until that takes effect, he remains in employment on leave without pay,'' he said.
''This is to allow completion of investigation processes under way; and thereafter, Mike no longer works for Nelson Marlborough District Health Board.''
Dr Parry could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Dr Parry has been on paid leave from work since a patient, Jim Nicholls, 81, died after surgery in May last year to repair a hernia and remove his gall bladder.
''Up until now, Dr Parry has been on special leave, being paid,'' Mr Fleming said.
''As of now [May 21], he is on leave without pay.''
The board had started advertising for a general surgeon's position to fill the vacancy left by Dr Parry's resignation, Mr Fleming said.
The board withdrew an offer of a one-year fixed-term contract to a general surgeon earlier this month after information came to light which indicated the surgeon was not suitable for the job.
That appointment had been to provide cover for Dr Parry's absence, Mr Fleming said.
''As such, we are now in the market for a permanent appointment,'' he said.
''It is likely, however, that we will need to continue to use shorter term appointments until the appropriate candidate is identified.''
Another patient, Rachel Riddell, 31, died of significant blood loss in January 2011 after having her gall bladder removed by Dr Parry.
A coroner's inquiry into the two patient deaths was put on hold in December when police launched their own investigation into one of the deaths, to determine whether there was any ''liability or culpability''.
Both deaths, along with operations on Angie Webber, 26, and a 36-year-old Upper Hutt woman, also came under the police microscope.
A Medical Council spokesman said they had not received any notification of Dr Parry's resignation.
''In any event, the council's position remains unchanged.''
I can confirm that Dr Parry has a current practising certificate but is currently registered on a 'non-practising status'.
Dr Parry has agreed that he will not undertake any further clinical work until the Medical Council of New Zealand has agreed that he can do so,'' he said.
Council members received an update on Dr Parry's case last month and deferred any further action or decision until a later time, he said.
"We are unable to say anything further on the matter for legal reasons.''
- The Marlborough Express