Surgeon under investigation resigns

BLAIR ENSOR AND BRONWYN TORRIE
Last updated 05:00 23/05/2013
Michael Parry
DEREK FLYNN/Fairfax NZ
QUIT: Marlborough surgeon Michael Parry, who is at the centre of a criminal investigation into botched surgery, has resigned.

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The surgeon at the centre of a criminal investigation into botched surgery has resigned.

Zimbabwe-born doctor Michael Parry originally stood down from his post at Wairau Hospital after the death of Jim Nicholls, 81, following surgery last May to repair a hernia and remove his gall bladder.

Parry had been on paid leave since.

Another patient, Rachel Riddell, 31, died of blood loss in January 2011 after Parry removed her gall bladder.

Yesterday, Nelson Marlborough District Health Board chief executive Chris Fleming confirmed Parry had resigned.

He would remain an employee - on leave without pay - until his resignation date.

"This is to allow completion of investigation processes under way and thereafter. Mike no longer works for Nelson Marlborough District Health Board," Fleming said.

The board would advertise a general surgeon's position to fill the vacancy left by Parry's resignation, he said.

A coroner's inquiry into the two patient deaths was put on hold in December when police began an investigation into one of the deaths to determine whether there was any "liability or culpability".

Both deaths, as well as botched operations on Angie Webber, 26, and a 36-year-old Upper Hutt woman, have come under police scrutiny.

The surviving pair's spokeswoman, Adrien Pitcon-Mason, said yesterday that news of Parry's resignation was bitter-sweet.

"It's a little too late. He's been on full pay. What sort of penalty is that?"

Nicholls' son, Paul, said yesterday that Parry's resignation came as no surprise.

"I think his position at the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board was untenable."

It is understood 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 by him had been asked to supply questions to police for the interview.

He was later provided with a list of questions by police.

Parry's lawyer, Rebecca Scott, yesterday confirmed the surgeon had responded to those.

A police spokeswoman confirmed the inquiry is ongoing.

Parry declined to comment yesterday, but Ms Scott has previously said the surgeon had "fully co-operated" with police and the health and disabilities commissioner's investigations.

Parry has a current practising certificate but has agreed not to undertake any clinical work until he is cleared to do so by the Medical Council.

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He moved to New Zealand in April 2010 after working in hospitals in South Africa, England and Abu Dhabi.

- The Dominion Post

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