Associate Professor Munjed Al Muderis says he has a green light to perform osseointegration procedures again, declaring his medical defence organisation has reversed its decision to withdraw cover for the surgery.
Last week, the orthopaedic surgeon said Avant had decided to revoke indemnity cover for “future work in osseointegration, including clinical consultations and surgery”.
The move came in the wake of allegations by Nine and Fairfax that he had abandoned some his patients, leaving them with maggot-infested wounds and chronic pain — claims he denies.
An open letter urging Avant to reinstate his cover immediately and posted online by one of his osseointegration patients attracted more than 1500 supporters, including other patients who had undergone the procedure.
The move also raised concerns about MDOs effectively limiting a doctor’s practice as a result of media allegations rather than in response to interventions by regulators.
On Monday, Professor Al Muderis said his indemnity provider had confirmed he could continue to practise osseointegration medicine.
“I am relieved that this obstacle has been removed so I can continue the care of all my patients uninterrupted,” he added.
“While there is still a way to go to fight the untrue and damaging allegations made by Nine and Fairfax, this is a crucial development for both my patients and me personally and professionally.”
Both Professor Al Muderis and Avant declined to explain the basis on which cover was restricted in the first place.
Professor Al Muderis was behind the development of a new generation of implanted prosthetic limbs, using a technique called osseointegration, which involved inserting a titanium bolt into the bone to make a prosthesis more responsive and longer lasting than traditional techniques.
Last month, both Nine and Fairfax published allegations that he had ignored a patient with a wound “oozing” with maggots and that another had been forced to hack off hypergranulation tissue around their stoma with a kitchen knife.
It was also alleged that one of his patients had been told to spray his legs with fabric refresher Febreze when he complained that his wound smelled bad.
Professor Al Muderis strenuously denied any wrongdoing and threatened to take legal action against 60 Minutes, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald following their joint investigation, which reportedly involved 25 former patients, 15 surgeons and “dozens” of his current and former business associates.
In a 40-page concerns notice, he has given Nine and its newspapers 28 days to respond.