An 'abhorrent' cover-up
By Clair Weaver, Sunday Telegraph
March 16, 2008 12:00am
NURSES repeatedly tried to raise the alarm about the "abhorrent" Butcher of Bega Graeme Reeves but were ignored, according to a whistleblower.
Worried staff at Pambula Hospital refused to work with the former gynaecologist and obstetrician, voiced concerns in a letter to management and sought advice from a nurses' organisation, it is claimed.
But management and doctors continued to employ Reeves during his "bitter and horrible'' tenure at the hospital, the source said.
The claims come after it emerged at least three babies have died under the care of the disgraced ex-doctor.
Iwona Taborek was reportedly awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation by the State Government after her twin babies died and she nearly bled to death during a delivery by Reeves in 1995.
Reeves, who is the subject of a police investigation following hundreds of complaints of genital mutilation and sexual abuse from former patients, allegedly left a needle inside a patient and was "verbally aggressive'' to the nurse who told him he had to inform the patient.
"I think it should be put on the record that nurses at Pambula Hospital were very concerned about Graham (sic) Reeves' treatment of his patients and staff during his whole tenure at the hospital,'' the source, who is believed to be a nurse, said in a letter sent to local media and Bega MP Andrew Constance.
"So much so, one of the theatre staff wrote to management, stating their concern.
"They refused to work in theatre with him due to his poor practice methods and treatment of patients and staff.
"It was hard to come to terms with the employment and support by management and doctors of such a surgeon, when he was so abhorrent to the rest of staff. This was a very bitter and horrible time at Pambula,'' the whistleblower concluded in the the letter.
Reeves allegedly refused to see a patient who was in severe pain and had falling oxygen levels two days after her operation, despite concerns from nursing staff.
Another doctor was called and the patient was sent to Canberra, where it emerged she was seriously ill with a nicked bowel, the whistleblower said.
A sister in charge consulted the nurses registration board or nurses union after Reeves allegedly left a needle inside a patient, according to the letter.
Bega MP Andrew Constance said some of Reeves' alleged victims were reluctant to call the dedicated counselling phone hotline, and would prefer face-to-face counselling.
"At least give us a counsellor to support the victims, that's what I am pushing for,'' he said.