Aussie doctor uncovers flawed WHO advice - while surfing

'A lot of this research was purely fabricated. It's a stunning thing', says Melbourne anaesthetist

It was while on his summer break, surfing and doing a bit of light journal reading, that Melbourne anaesthetist Professor Paul Myles came across a new WHO guideline that just didn’t seem right.

That holiday journal browse sparked a two-year investigation by Professor Myles that helped unearth “fabricated” studies and some shaky research underpinning a WHO guideline on administering high-dose oxygen during and after surgery.

The 2016 guideline from WHO states: “Adult patients undergoing general anaesthesia with endotracheal intubation for surgical procedures should receive 80% fraction of inspired oxygen intraoperatively and, if feasible, in the immediate post-operative period.”

The guideline is based in part on research led by Italian surgeon Dr Mario Schietroma of the University of L’Aquila in central Italy that showed liberal oxygen-use reduced the risk of infection after surgery.