High-flying Dr accused of dropping pants, bullying, loses $2.3m
A HIGH-flying Queensland surgeon suspended from practice after he was accused of dropping his pants in the operating theatre to get measured for a new suit among other allegations, which he denies, claims he has lost $2.3m in income due to his suspension.
William Vasily Braun, 45, a weight-loss surgeon who lives in the Brisbane suburb of Hamilton, was in the Supreme Court in Brisbane today in his bid to get the court to force Metro North Hospital and Health Service (Metro North) to give him his job back.
Dr Braun has been suspended on full pay since February 27 last year.
His suspension came the day after nine surgical colleagues - including four (unnamed) top surgeons and a couple of trainees - criticised him in damning statements tendered in state parliament claiming he was a sociopath, a bully and a danger to his patients who is accused of sexually harassing his colleagues and "clinical incompetence".
According to the court claim, Dr Braun was accused of asking a medical sales rep for oral sex while they were in the operating theatre with another nurse present, and alleged to have told the sales rep she "knew what she had to do if he wanted to improve her business".
Dr Braun's barrister Angus Scott submitted today that the medical sales rep "herself regarded the allegations as baseless".
Dr Braun has been told he can't come back to work until an investigation into his alleged behaviour and alleged patient treatment by the Office of the Health Ombudsman is completed, the court heard.
"The investigation is ongoing and there is no indication when it will be finished" Mr Scott submitted to Justice Frances Williams.
Dr Braun argues his suspension by Metro North automatically barred him from his lucrative private work at North-West Private Hospital and seeing private patients as a "visiting medical officer" at Redcliffe hospital.
Mr Scott told the court today that between February 2019 and February 2020 he has lost $2.3m in "professional fees" from being unable to work in private practice.
Mr Scott told the court that Dr Braun had never been given the opportunity to respond to the allegations which triggered his suspension which has had "very serious and dramatic effects" on his income and reputation.
Mr Scott submitted to the court that seven of the complaints made against Dr Braun in parliament had been made before, and investigations found they were "unsubstantiated or otherwise dealt with" and three related to matters already subject to some form of audit or review.
Mr Scott told Justice Williams that certain "members of the medical community" were clearly dissatisfied with the outcome of previous investigations into Dr Braun's actions, and were "in effect seeking to relitigate those allegations".
Dr Braun also complained that some of the complaints against him related to events which occurred at private hospitals and not in the public system governed by Metro North.
An unnamed surgeon states in the parliamentary documents, which are part of the court claim, that he was told "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".
Dr Braun denies the event ever occurred.
Barrister Jonathan Horton QC, for Metro North, submitted that the decision maker at Metro North needed to suspend Dr Braun to ensure the efficient management of the health service.
In documents filed in court Dr Braun claims he is the victim of a campaign by a "faction within the medical community" which wants to harm his practice by criticising and "potentially defaming" him as a "scumbag", and by creating a "shit storm".
Justice Williams has reserved her decision.