A FORMER Newcastle University associate professor of gynaecology under investigation over use of mesh devices in women’s prolapse surgery is promoting “vaginal ageing” laser procedures nearly 20 years after he was suspended in America after findings of incompetence involving women’s pelvic laser surgery.
Dr Richard Reid is promoting “vaginal ageing” laser procedures at a Sydney eastern suburbs clinic while the subject of a Health Care Complaints Commission investigation, and while barred from performing major surgery after a failed NSW Medical Council attempt to suspend him.
Dr Reid was fined $10,000 by the Michigan Medical Board in 1998 and suspended for three months after complaints from three women, aged 23, 50 and 59, following laser surgery that “violated his duty to safety and skilfully practise medicine”.
Dr Reid pleaded no contest to the women’s complaints, did not admit the truth of the allegations but agreed the board could treat the allegations as true to resolve the complaints.
The board found the allegations of fact were true.
The board was told one of the women was left with “significant surgical distortion of her external genitalia” after eight laser surgical procedures. It was told a second woman received three laser procedures to treat a condition she did not have because Dr Reid failed to perform a biopsy and misdiagnosed her condition.
A 23-year-old patient received a $7.6 million settlement after an American court was told she could never have sex again because of permanent and severe damage caused by the Australian doctor.
The Michigan Medical Board’s suspension and fine in 1998 were not carried out because Dr Reid returned to Australia in November 1996 to resume work after 19 years as a gynaecologist and obstetrician in America.
The NSW Medical Board (which became the NSW Medical Council) did not become aware of the American board’s action against Dr Reid until 2006 after a complaint from an Australian patient, the Medical Council advised the Newcastle Herald in a statement.
Under disclosure rules applying to doctors at the time Dr Reid was only required to complete a non-identifying questionnaire when he returned to Australia that was filed with the Department of Health for statistical purposes.
It was not until an amendment to the Medical Practice Act in 2000 that doctors were required to record if they had been suspended in Australia or elsewhere in the previous year.
In advertisements in a Sydney eastern suburbs newspaper earlier this year Dr Reid described the laser procedure as “a radical breakthrough in the treatment of the problems of vaginal ageing”, which helped restore “volume, hydration and elasticity”.
The laser treatment was introduced to Australia in January 2013 and “uses technology successfully tested over 25 years”, he said in the advertisement.
Dr Reid did not respond to a phone message or email.
The NSW Medical Council said Dr Reid was not excluded from performing the laser procedure by the conditions imposed on his registration. The council was “actively monitoring” Dr Reid, it said.
The Council suspended Dr Reid’s registration in 2014. His suspension was subsequently appealed and lifted by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, subject to the imposition of conditions.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration, which registers devices on the Australian market, said medium or medium-high risk laser devices were approved on the basis of European certification.