Butcher victims top 1200
By Clair Weaver and Marnie O'Neill
March 09, 2008 12:00am
SUPPORTERS of the "Butcher of Begs", Graeme Reeves, have gone to ground as the growing tsunami of email complaints surpasses the 1200 mark.
The Sunday Telegraph was met with a wall of silence when it contacted former colleagues, psychiatrists and health regulators last week to find out how the disgraced former gynaecologist and obstetrician managed to escape detection for more than a decade.
Only one former colleague spoke out last week to defend Reeves, who is accused of routinely mutilating and sexually abusing hundreds of patients.
Dr Frank Simonson also revealed fears about Reeves's mental state in the wake of the scandal, which has made headlines around the world.
"I hope that … he is getting medical treatment and counselling,'' he said.
"He would be suffering terribly mentally at the moment – and he certainly would need some mental support."
Reeves has a long history of depression and psychiatric problems. A NSW Medical Board dossier reveals he was taking the anti-depressant drug Zoloft, with his dosage increasing during times of stress.
Part of the restrictions on his ability to practise were that he had continuously sought psychiatric treatment.
The Sunday Telegraph can also reveal that Reeves had attempted to return to work as a doctor just 11 weeks ago.
Tomorrow, Medicare will be obliged to start investigating Reeves for alleged fraud.
Women are planning to submit their medical records as evidence, saying that Reeves claimed money from Medicare for procedures he had carried out without their consent.
The first patient to breakher silence on Reeves, Carolyn Dewaegeneire, has records of Medicare claims for having all her external genitalia removed.
That is despite being admitted to hospital for the removal of a minor lesion on her labia.
"Medicare Australia is concerned when any practitioner may have billed Medicare for services or prescribed medicines that were not medically necessary or were incorrectly claimed," a spokesperson said.
Last week Dr Simonson, who provided a letter of reference for Reeves at his NSW Medical Tribunal hearing in 2004, said he stood by his statement that Reeves was “one of the better surgeons'' in his experience.
"I assisted Dr Reeves in some operations and what I saw him do is what I've seen othersurgeons do similarly in other operations,'' he said.
Asked if that meant he had seen other surgeons mutilate their patients, he replied: "I'm not commenting''.
He said if patient claims of abuse and mutilation were true, it would be "reprehensible".
But he insisted that Reeves should be presumed innocent until found guilty.
"Both the patients and the doctors need to be reassured that proper process will be followed and the police need to do that.''
Dr Simonson, who also had restrictions placed on his practice because of alleged substance abuse issues in the past, says he does not know where Reeves and his wife Sharon have been staying.
The couple appear to have been in hiding since revelations were published in The Sunday Telegraph two weeks ago.
Neighbours have not seen them at their Castle Hill home.