Rockhampton surgeon Antonio Vega Vega sues for $750,000

Dr Anthony Vega Vega.
Dr Anthony Vega Vega.

ROCKHAMPTON surgeon Antonio Vega Vega is suing Central Queensland Hospital and Health Board chairman Charles Ware and the State of Queensland for $750,000.

Solicitors for the urologist filed a claim in the Rockhampton Supreme Court registry on April 30, claiming that on May 6, 2014, Mr Ware defamed him in a press conference at Rockhampton and on 4BC radio.

The claim states Mr Ware knew that Dr Vega Vega would be able to be identified by the media as the surgeon about whom he was talking.

He alleges in 2012 there had been public statements that he was the first and only specialist urologist based in Rockhampton.

Dr Vega Vega claims that at the press conference, Mr Ware conveyed the following defamatory meanings:

He was incompetent because he had removed the wrong kidney from a patient.

He had not noticed he had nicked a patient's artery during surgery, resulting in the patient losing three litres of blood, requiring re-admission to hospital and subsequent transportation to a Brisbane hospital where he could receive the higher care that he needed.

He was so incompetent that he would never practice at Rockhampton Hospital again.

He was so incompetent that the public had to be protected from him.

He claims that Mr Ware knew that the words said by him during the press conference would be repeated publicly in the media and that he knew that Dr Vega Vega would be able to be identified by the media as the surgeon about whom he was speaking.

He made similar claims in reference to the 4BC interview.

He alleged in the claim that the meanings were republished widely in the media, exposing him to ridicule and contempt and that his reputation was injured and he suffered hurt and embarrassment.

Dr Vega Vega seeks compensation to vindicate his reputation, compensate for distress and embarrassment caused and to convince a person to whom the meanings were published of the baselessness of them.

Mr Ware declined to comment on the claim yesterday.

In June last year, a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal judge found Dr Vega Vega did not pose a serious risk to patients.

The judge set aside a Medical Board of Australia suspension and registration conditions.

Dr Vega Vega is now practising privately in Rockhampton, but has not returned to the public hospital system.

He is awaiting a judge's decision on his application to have two reports, both commissioned by Queensland Health, into his care of four hospital patients quashed or declared invalid.

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