Surgeon at centre of probe overseas
A surgeon at the centre of a criminal investigation into fatal surgery has gone overseas.
Michael Parry's lawyer says there are no restrictions on him travelling and he has only left temporarily.
She was unable to say where he had gone and why, but "it's certainly not full time".
Those affected by his surgery say they are concerned his departure earlier this month might see him "disappear".
Police will not comment on his movements.
Zimbabwe-born Dr Parry stood down from his post at Wairau Hospital in Blenheim after the death of Jim Nicholls, 81, following surgery last May to repair a hernia and remove his gall bladder.
He was on paid leave until he resigned in May this year.
Another patient, Rachel Riddell, 31, died of blood loss in January 2011 after Dr Parry removed her gall bladder.
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 surgery Dr Parry performed on Angie Webber, aged in her 20s, a 37-year-old Upper Hutt woman, and a third patient are also under scrutiny.
An Immigration New Zealand spokeswoman yesterday confirmed Dr Parry left New Zealand earlier this month.
Dr Parry's lawyer, Rebecca Scott, said he had left the country for "a couple of weeks".
"It's certainly not full time," Ms Scott said.
"He's got no restrictions on him so he can come and go as he pleases."
She was unable to say why he had left the country or where he had gone, she said.
Property records show Dr Parry and his wife, Susan, still own a house in Blenheim.
Detective Inspector Geoff Jago refused to comment about Dr Parry's movements. He said the investigation was continuing.
Ms Riddell's older sister, Lynn Weir, said she was disappointed those affected had not been told Dr Parry was going overseas and concerned he might "disappear".
"I think it's surprising he's been allowed to leave the country," Ms Weir said.
Police have been silent on their investigation, but it is understood they are close to finishing it.
During the course of their inquiry, police have received information from the Nelson Marlborough and Canterbury district health boards, the Medical Council and the Health and Disability Commissioner.
A surgeon in Hamilton has also provided them with an independent report on Mr Nicholls' operation. Fairfax understands Dr Parry was asked to attend an interview at Blenheim police station in March but declined.
Patients who suffered serious complications and the families of people who died after surgery conducted by him had been asked to supply questions to police for the interview. He later provided answers to a list of questions given to him by police.
Dr Parry moved to New Zealand in April 2010 after working in hospitals in South Africa, England and Abu Dhabi.
- The Marlborough Express