Doctor accused of dropping dacks slammed as ‘sociopath’
A HIGH-FLYING Queensland surgeon suspended after he was accused of dropping his pants in the operating theatre to get measured for a new suit, claims he is a victim of bullying and harassment by the "Brisbane senior surgical community".
Russian-born William Vasily Braun, 44, a weight-loss surgeon who lives in Hamilton has been suspended on full pay from Metro North Hospital and Health Service (Metro North) since February 27 while the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) investigates him.
His suspension came the day after nine surgical colleagues - including four unnamed top surgeons and two trainees - slammed him in damning statements tendered in state parliament calling him a sociopath, a bully and a danger to his patients who is accused of sexually harassing his female colleagues and "clinical incompetence".
But Dr Braun, who practises at Redcliffe Hospital and privately at North West Private Hospital, claims he is the victim of a campaign by a "faction within the medical community" who want to harm his practice by criticising and "potentially defaming" him as a "scumbag" and creating a "shit storm".
Details of the ugly stoush between Brisbane's top surgeons were revealed in the Supreme Court in Brisbane after Dr Braun sued Metro North executives to have his suspension lifted, claiming he is more than $1m out of pocket due to the suspension because he is missing out on his lucrative private work.
He argues the OHO investigation could take years to clear his name.
Dr Braun suggests he has been targeted because he is an outsider, since he did his doctorate of medicine at a Russian university, court documents state.
He argues that Brisbane surgeons "who attended the same schools and trained together … get away with.. the culture of bullying and harassment" that "still exists within our community", court documents state.
Dr Braun alleges that he believes "at least five" of the nine statements tabled in parliament were triggered by him lodging a formal complaint against his former trainee surgeon Bree Hobbins King, alleging she was defaming him.
An unnamed surgeon states he was told that "Dr Braun lowered with (SIC) pants in an operating theatre at North West Private Hospital on one occasion in front of both nurses and medical equipment representatives and remained standing in his underwear whilst another male proceeded to measure his waist circumference and leg length for a suit fitting", in the parliamentary documents, which are part of the court claim.
Dr Braun denies the event occurred and denies the allegation.
Another surgeon accused Dr Braun of "constantly moving patients between institutions to avoid exposure.. (and) avoid scrutiny at any morbidity and mortality meeting".
Another accused him of moving a patient to Sydney "to avoid detection" of post-surgical complications. Dr Braun says this claim is unfounded and denied.
Dr Braun alleges that four days after he complained about Dr Hobbins King to both the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and Metro North, his colleague surgeon Robert Finch allegedly threatened him: "We will come after you and this will become a shit storm for you".
"You are a bully and sexual harasser," Dr Finch, who practices from Chermside in Brisbane's north, is alleged to have texted Dr Braun, according to court documents.
"If you really want a legal stoush with (Dr Hobbins King) understand that there are many of us who will stand with her. The truth is a good defence to defamation," Dr Finch allegedly texted.
In a phone call minutes later Dr Finch allegedly told Dr Braun that Hobbins King "is not the only one that has made those claims, we are all aware of them. You are being a bully acting against her with legal letters".
Dr Braun also alleges colorectal surgeon Carina Chow started "an open campaign against me" by "inciting" trainees to complain about him, and he alleges Kellee Slater, the chair of the board of general surgery, "was also part of this process".
Dr Braun's claimed high-ranking professional enemies are alleged to include the chair of general surgery at the prestigious Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital, Nicholas O'Rourke, who Dr Braun alleges sent an "in appropriate, vindictive, slanderous" email about his alleged sexual or harassing conduct to Metro North's executive director of surgery Jason Jenkins on August 9, 2016.
Dr Braun alleges Dr Hobbins King "encouraged" Dr O'Rourke to email Dr Jenkins to complain about Dr Braun, after Dr Hobbins King allegedly told Dr O'Rourke about her "serial unpleasant harassment" by Dr Braun in 2012 and failure of an "official inquiry" by Metro North in 2014 to "do anything" to stop Dr Braun.
According to documents, Hobbins King is alleged to have asked male surgical colleagues at "colorectal club meetings" in 2018: "How is it possible that you guys have done nothing to stop him working in this town?".
"What he did was awful, and he goes around unpunished," Dr Hobbins King is alleged to have told her colleagues, court documents state.
Dr O'Rourke allegedly told Dr Jenkins that despite "an official inquiry" by Metro North into Dr Braun's behaviour in 2014 "nothing was done … save 'we better keep female trainees away from him".
Dr Braun alleges Dr O'Rouke's 9 August 2016 email to Dr Jenkins triggered "an 'all new' investigation" into his conduct because it was allegedly forwarded to "every possible party" in Brisbane's high-flying surgical circles including the RACS president and the state's general surgery board, and General Surgeons Australia.
He claims hospital executives conveyed "unlawful offers" for him to "quietly resign" from Redcliffe hospital -- that he refused.
Dr Braun's case returns to court on December 9 where lawyers for Metro North have asked the court to throw-out Dr Braun's case, or put it on hold.