Police to talk to Blenheim surgeon

BRONWYN TORRIE AND BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 05:00 25/02/2013
Mike Parry
DEREK FLYNN/Marlborough Express
Surgeon Michael Parry

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The Blenheim surgeon at the centre of a criminal investigation into botched surgery is to be interviewed by police.

Michael Parry stood down from his post at Wairau Hospital after the death of Jim Nicholls, 81, following surgery last May to remove a hernia and his gall bladder. It is understood Mr Parry is still on paid leave.

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

A coroner's inquiry into the two 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".

A woman who suffered complications from her surgery said she was told by police during the weekend that the investigation was now drawing to a close. They also said they would be interviewing Mr Parry in the coming days.

A police spokeswoman would not confirm what stage the investigation was at yesterday, nor would she say whether police would be speaking to Mr Parry.

"That's certainly not information that we have been releasing or will be releasing . . . We will release information when we have something to release.

"The last update that I had was that we were still awaiting some expert information."

Zimbabwe-born Mr Parry moved from the United Arab Emirates to work at Wairau Hospital in April 2010, then aged 58.

His practising certificate is due to expire on Thursday, according to the Medical Council of New Zealand's website.

A council spokesman said the renewal of the certificate would be considered by the council should Mr Parry apply, and a performance assessment report into his competency would be considered at the council's meeting in April.

The Nelson Marlborough District Health Board confirmed last week that the Health and Disability Commission and Medical Council were investigating four complaints about surgery at Wairau Hospital between July 2011 and June 2012. It is understood the four cases are the deaths of Mr Nicholls and Ms Riddell, and the botched surgery of two women.

Picton mother Angie Webber, 26, went in to have her gall bladder removed by Mr Parry in December 2010. Her bile duct was damaged and she was sent to Christchurch Hospital, where a specialist performed open surgery to repair the damage.

A 36-year-old Upper Hutt woman also suffered complications during surgery to remove her gall bladder in February 2011.

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She also needed further treatment in Christchurch.

A further complaint to the Health and Disability Commission has been laid by the daughter of Annette Woolley, 75, who died after surgery by Mr Parry in January 2012.

Jackie Woolley said her mother's death occurred after complications from bowel surgery.

- Fairfax Media

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