A contribution put together with one of our readers.
I was referred to A/Prof. Andrew Brooks, Urologist, by Dr Chris Grant, a GP I’d been using for 5 or 6 years and thought was quite good, for help with the “frequency problem” I was experiencing – I was having to get up 2 or 3 times a night to urinate, something which, it seems, many seniors experience.
Brooks’ advice was that the problem was that my bladder had become more muscular, and therefor smaller, down to 200 mls in capacity, from years of having to force urine past partial blockages in my urinary tract, but that there was a solution – if I underwent a procedure called a TURP, the partial blockages would be removed, and I would be more or less back to normal within 3 months, certainly within 6 month.
Accepting Brooks’ diagnosis, I was SO trusting and naive back then, I underwent the TURP, on 13 Aug. 2014.
As a consequence, (1) I underwent an operation under a full anaesthetic, which always has it’s risks, (2) I spent 2 uncomfortable days in hospital with tubes running in an out of me everywhere, (3) I incurred costs of more than $6,000, even after Medicare rebates, including Brooks’ fee of $3,200 for less than an hour’s work, (4) I wasn’t helped in any way with my frequency problem, as Brooks himself subsequently admitted in writing, and, (5) I was damaged for life, in that I no longer ejaculated, being deprived of the considerable pleasure that comes from ejaculation in orgasms, which is ALWAYS a consequence of TURP operations, it just doesn’t happen sometimes, your semen is pumped up into your bladder with you not feeling anything, and it can’t be reversed.
It has always seemed to me, since, that if I’d been assaulted by a street thug, and, as a consequence, was damaged for life in this way, the thug would probably go to gaol, perhaps for a very long time.
I now believe that the main problem was that Brooks lied to me when he told me the capacity of my bladder had been reduced to 200 mls, and that, if this was a lie, the TURP was NEVER going to work – but he referred me to his nurse to investigate and report on the capacity of my bladder, (at a higher cost that a properly qualified would have charged,) and she obviously backed him up. I’ve really tried since, but I’ve never been able to get Brooks to supply me with a copy of her report, even though I’m entitled to one by law, and even though I sought the assistance of the NSW Privacy Commissioner to obtain one – Brooks just ignored the Privacy Commissioner, and got away with it! something which you can obviously do. But, even if I ever get a copy, knowing Brooks, it probably would have been fabricated to suit his purposes.
I’ve since carried out considerable research on the frequency problem, and Brooks is the only one I’ve come across who claims that it’s caused by bladders being reduced to a capacity of 200 mls in the way he’d described. It’s usually said that it’s caused by bladders becoming too weak, for whatever reason, to properly empty themselves during urination, so that they are full again in much less time than it used to take, about which nothing can be done – no big fat fees for Urologists!!!
In April, 2015, 8 months after my TURP, as I continued my investigations as to what had gone wrong, and why, I was told by another Urologist that the capacity of my bladder, then, was about 330 mls, about which two things could be said – firstly, that it would seem unlikely that my bladder would have increased in it’s capacity by 130 mls, from 200 mls to 330 mls, in 8 months, when I was in my 70s, and secondly, that if it had, on Brooks’ diagnoses I would have no longer have had the frequency problem, and I’ve got it, STILL, in 2020.
And, another thing – my fees to have my operation in the Westmead Private hospital were $4,110, when I’ve since learnt that, as a pensioner on the full pension, and without private health insurance , it was likely that I could perhaps have had it in the Westmead Government hospital for much much less, perhaps for almost nothing – but again I trusted Brooks when he told me that it would be at least 12 months before it could be done in a Government hospital. I’m sure that even now it could be established what the likely delay would have been for someone in my circumstances back in 2014, and that probably Brooks would have been lying, or at least exaggerating. (A recent HCCC Media Release on a Dr Francis Chu may be relevant to this matter.)
In other ways, Brooks showed himself to be fraudulent and a liar.
I still have the letter in which, 27 days after he’d carried out the TURP, he wrote to his mate, my referring GP, Dr Chris Grant, “He has had a significant improvement in flow rate since undergoing transurethral resection o the prostate.”
But there were only two ways in which he could have known there had been a significant improvement – if tests had been carried out, and no such tests had been carried out, or, if I had told him there had been an improvement, which I certainly hadn’t done, as I didn’t, myself, know whether there’d been an improvement or not, still don’t know to this day. But did this stop Brooks from making his assertion? – of course not.
And I still have a copy of a letter, dated 18 Nov. 2014, in which he wrote to Grant, repeating his unsubstantiated claims that there had been a marked improvement in my flow rate, and which went on to say, “Unfortunately the frequency and urgency is not resolved.” and, “I have prescribed Oxytrol patches.”
So, he was acknowledging in writing that the TURP hadn’t helped in any way with the “frequency problem” – when his mate, Grant, had specifically referred me to him for help with it. And I’d NEVER had an “urgency” problem!!! – that he said I had is another indication of how poor and careless he’d been in his diagnoses. After I’d gone to the trouble and expense of getting the Oxytrol patches and starting to use them, I happened to Google them. and the results indicated that they were “used to treat symptoms of overactive bladder, such as urgent urination, incontinence (urine leakage) and increased nighttime urination,” none of which I’d ever experienced!!!. Which I think is outrageous.
To continue the story, since 2014/15, four of Brooks’ henchmen/thugs, all different, have rung me, making all sorts of threats against me for the comments I’ve made on him that have been put up on the internet, telling me, amongst other things, that I owe Brooks an APOLOGY!!!!!
And one of them mentioned that from time to time Brooks made “contributions,” (perhaps more accurately described as “bribes,”) to GPs to help them in running their practices, which he described as a “norm” for the industry??? Of course, I don’t know whether this is true or not. But you would hardly think that someone speaking on behalf of Brooks would say it if it wasn’t true, especially when it would appear to be such a stupid thing for them to admit, even if it was true. And when I emailed his mate, Dr Chris Grant, my referring GP, asking him if he’d ever received any of Brooks’ “contributions,” not only did he not deny it, he blocked me from sending him any more emails. The possibility is certainly raised that GPs like Grant are referring patients to Specialists like Brooks, to continue getting his “contributions” – which seems much more likely that he didn’t know how bad Brooks was. You would think/hope that Brooks’ reputation have spread far and wide.
Since 2014, I’ve sent Brooks at least 20 emails inviting him to provide his version of things, which, of course, he’s still welcome to do, but not one of them has been even acknowledged.