A German spinal surgeon who visited New Zealand to meet up with a gaggle of happy sufferers has been warned by the Ministry of Well being that it’s unlawful for him to offer medical therapy right here.
Dr Thomas Bierstedt dined in Auckland final week with a gaggle of New Zealand sufferers on whom he carried out disc alternative surgical procedure in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Whereas numerous New Zealand sufferers of the German surgeon praised their scientific outcomes, a grievance was made to the Ministry of Well being about his presence in New Zealand.
Ministry of Well being chief authorized advisor Phil Knipe says there are strict guidelines round what overseas medical doctors can do whereas visiting New Zealand.
“In January, the Ministry of Well being acquired a grievance from a New Zealand surgeon, a couple of group of German surgeons who had been about to go to New Zealand,” Knipe mentioned.
“It is unlawful for medical professionals to offer medical therapy or diagnose folks whereas they’re in New Zealand, until they’re registered and maintain a present New Zealand Medical Licence.”
Dr Bierstedt mentioned he has carried out round 20 surgical procedures on New Zealand sufferers. He advised the Weekend Herald that the ministry’s warning was merely a misunderstanding.
“We apologise for that. On no account will we wish to trigger any hassle, or do something that might damage the laws right here,” Dr Bierstedt.
“Circulating internationally, attending conventions, you at all times wish to meet circumstances, however it’s by no means giving recommendation or treating them. We all know the laws. We would not try this.”
The Europe primarily based Backbone Connection firm Dr Bierstedt was travelling with mentioned “about 40 per cent of recent sufferers reaching out to us are pals and colleagues from our earlier sufferers”.
On the Backbone Connection Auckland dinner was 37-year-old Aucklander Taran Singh, who was operated on by Dr Bierstedt in August 2017.
He says the substitute disc alternative surgical procedure “gave me my life again” after 20 years of crippling again ache.
Singh says his choice to get in contact with Dr Bierstedt got here after he was given a six months’ watch for a specialist’s appointment after his situation quickly deteriorated in January 2017.
“I used to be on the level of desperation, the worst ache of my life, so I began researching on-line,” he mentioned.
Singh mentioned as quickly as spoke to Dr Bierstedt on the telephone by way of his Backbone Connection firm, he was given a completely correct account of the ache he was experiencing.
“From the second I landed in Germany I did not have to boost a finger, every thing was taken care of: hospital, prognosis, surgical procedure,” Singh mentioned. “I used to be strolling ache free inside 24-hours of my surgical procedure.”
Additionally current on the Auckland dinner was Kevin Philpott additionally mentioned he’s “ache free for the primary time in 25 years” after his synthetic disc alternative surgical procedure by the hands of Dr Bierstedt in Might 2018. The operation prices over $50,000.
Nevertheless, Auckland-based orthopaedic surgeon Alastair Hadlow carried out the primary synthetic disk alternative in New Zealand again in 2002, and says the surgical procedure is available right here.
“We’ve not discovered them to be a lot of a bonus over a [spinal] fusion, for numerous causes. I do them if folks need,” Hadlow mentioned
“It is pretty complicated however a disc alternative can find yourself as only a very costly fusion, as a result of they do not all transfer on the finish of the day, and a few folks fuse up anyway.
“The Germans are pushing them as a result of they do not appear to fret an excessive amount of in regards to the long-term results on sufferers. They are usually a little bit bit extra cavalier in Europe to be sincere.”
Hadlow mentioned he was conscious Dr Bierstedt was in New Zealand just lately.
“We’re not defending our patch or something however he really cannot follow in NZ as a result of he is not licensed. If he is seeing sufferers that is practising, so it’s very unlawful,” Hadlow mentioned.
Melbourne orthopedic surgeon John Cunningham additionally forged doubt on the intentions of medical doctors touring to “drum up enterprise” in overseas nations.
“What’s in it for the surgeons?” Cunningham requested.
“There’s clearly a monetary reward, and it will not shock me to seek out that each affected person they see down right here will probably be provided some form of surgical procedure.
“They won’t inform folks to reduce weight and perform workout routines – they’ll take them straight to the working theatre.
“Absolutely this alone needs to be an infinite crimson flag to any affected person contemplating their therapy.”
Nevertheless, Dr Bierstedt mentioned he “strongly opposed” the assertion that the German surgical requirements had been in any far more “careless” than Australasia.
“We’ve got a really shut relationship to our sufferers. All of the observe up is completed by us,” Dr Bierstedt mentioned.
“In Germany we’re not a banana republic, and have a political system the place everyone seems to be insured and if the outcomes weren’t the nice medical insurance would increase eyebrows.
“Or if the sufferers weren’t glad, their phrase is clear these days, they’ve a robust voice that after all we’re not lax.”