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Lauredhel is an Australian woman and mother with a disability. She blogs about disability and accessibility, social and reproductive justice, gender, freedom from violence, the uses and misuses of language, medical science, otters, gardening, and cooking.

This author has written 1618 posts for Hoyden About Town. Read more about Lauredhel »

108 responses to “Graeme Reeves: Medical rape culture and collegiality”

  1. Oh… wow « Cheerful Megalomaniac

    [...] Posted by RhianWren on February 18, 2008 I was born in the hospital mentioned in this post [...]

  2. Beppie

    Oh god. I feel physically ill reading about this.

  3. m

    oh god, this disgusts me to no end. Imagine how many cases like this are STILL going on with patients too scared to come forward.

    m’s last blog post..can’t quite keep thoughts straight

  4. Vicki

    This is outrageous. I’m in the market for a new GYN, this is not what I needed to be thinking about.

    Just a suggestion, too: is it possible to put the diagram behind a cut for people who read blogs at work? I’m not worried about filters or official opprobrium, but coworkers just getting a quick over-the-shoulder glance and going away with a mistaken impression.

    Vicki’s last blog post..Happy Valentine’s Day!

  5. Theriomorph

    This is horrifying. And yeah, where were the colleagues? Maybe he was doing pelvic exams and office visits unsupervised/unassisted (though I’m a big fan of the practice of making this impossible). But he was not doing surgery by himself – there were others in the room. “Oops, look, I took her kidney by accident?” WTF? They just ‘missed’ that? On top of the rest of the horror, this is one of the most spectacular failures of bystanders I can remember hearing about.

    Theriomorph’s last blog post..I promised some full-on-bitter for Valentine’s – so, post ice-storm:

  6. She-cago

    My god. I never felt such cold fear spreading inside of me, reading any other post.

  7. Nick

    Mabye his penis should be removed as a penalty??

  8. Unknown Troper

    Why did he mutilate her anyway?

  9. Dalal

    Only response: “OH SH**”

  10. mustelid

    Unknown Troper, I’m guessing it’s ’cause there’s something really, hideously warped in his psyche. Why is this man apparently running around free? He should be in a locked ward for the criminally insane. And how the hell did he get any kind of job near any kind of medical facility?! I’d have preferred to think the AMA would’ve redflagged him all over the place, w/ a notation, “if this…(can’t find suitably strong epithet)has applied for any kind of medically related work, please detain him so he can be picked up by the police” Why was something like this not done? This is supposed to be the friggin’ information age.

  11. PoliticalGuineapig

    I have yet to have my first pap smear- this kind of thing makes me want to put it off indefinitely.

  12. Theriomorph

    The kidney was lost after complications (the video says “botched surgery”, but I can’t find any corroboration). However, if he was doing procedures that weren’t on the consent forms, absolutely someone should have picked up on that.

    Ah, I missed that, re: the kidney. Still, as you say, much else to have been caught. This is as chilling as it gets. Information age indeed.

    Theriomorph’s last blog post..I promised some full-on-bitter for Valentine’s – so, post ice-storm:

  13. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Nick–Why settle for the little head? Get a guillotine and remove the big one!

    OK, I’m not serious about decapitation, but he should go to prison.

  14. Amy

    Holy shit. I feel faint and sick.
    My goddess.
    That’s horrendous.

    Amy’s last blog post..:)

  15. lisa

    @ Politicalguineapig: This is a horrendous story, but please don’t put off getting an exam! Get recommendations from other women, and find yourself a good doctor.

    lisa’s last blog post..The world’s newest country

  16. Daniel

    Doctor leans over her – out of earshot of the operating theatre staff.
    “I’m going to take your clitoris too,” he whispers.

    Reading this made me shiver! It sounds like something you would hear in a Horror movie.
    It also shows the mindset of this “Doctor” who from my point of view is most likely impotent and feels the need to inflict his pain on woman.

    The mind boggles at the fact that there has not been any criminal charges put against him!

  17. Rambles About Sexism « Galling Galla

    [...] This is outrageous. A woman goes into her local hospital for routine minor surgery to remove a tiny lesion on her labia. But just before the anaesthetic is administered, her doctor leans over her – out of earshot of the operating theatre staff. [...]

  18. Unknown Troper

    Will the “doctor” be committed to a hospital for the criminally insane – i hope so

  19. Francis Xavier Holden

    Almost inevitably these butchers are working in solo practice if a GP (see Shipton etc) or are in small rural hospital that is trying to run as if it were a big city specialist centre.(see Bundaberg Patel). In each case their is a general lack of systems for scrutiny and/ or communities are blinded by the need to have all services in small and usually under-equiped place with undertrained staff who simply do not have the knowledge, experience, systems or will to call the bad practices.

    One simple set of rules of thumb a patient/client/customer/consumer can use is:

    1 Seek a second opinion
    2 Volume usually correlates with skill and success – go to one of the places that does the top 10 volume (or so) of that procedure in the state not the one that does the least. {from memory the Obs&Gyny College doesn’t allow practice if the number of births per year is less than 30]Or at least find out what a decent level of volume is for the procedure.
    3 Go to someone in a group practice. Not all solo practice people are malpracticers but nearly all mal practicers are solo practice.
    4 Ask around. But be careful – often the “evil” doctor was lauded and worshipped prior in the country town.
    5 Be wary of charasmatic can do surgeons
    6 Surgeons are trained to cut to cure and have a bias to action. See a non surgeon specialist for exploration of options.

    Francis Xavier Holden’s last blog post..sound advice 1

  20. tigtog

    The other factor protecting them is the anti-whistle-blower culture. Staff members who become whistle-blowers become pariahs who tend to “coincidentally” lose their jobs within a year and who then find that their name has been added to “a little list”, meaning that future employment within the health industry is all but impossible. (This is the general corporate response to whistle-blowers, not only the health industry.)

    Most people are not principled enough to give up not only their job but an entire career. It’s a sad reflection on our species, but there it is. Whistle-blowers who persevere regardless are ethical heroes, and in the case of Dr Reeve there were no heroes to be found (edited to add: on the staff. The woman who eventually came forward despite her shame at her mutilation is a hero).

  21. Dave Bath

    I’ve got to wonder what would happen, both in terms of public outcry and criminal prosecution for analogous multilation of males, or even if such outrages have ever occurred (does anyone know?)
    1) Removal of the glans penis because of a scrotal lesion.
    2) Bilateral orchiectomy after discovery of a small lesion on one testis.

    “Unknown troper” (Comment 19) is probably being overgenerous when saying

    Will the “doctor” be committed to a hospital for the criminally insane?

    BTW: I think the post’s publication of the full name of the victim was unwarranted, unless you sought and were granted permission by the victim. Even the NineMSN article didn’t go that far! I agree to your denotation of this as a rape, and wonder what you think about publishing the full name (and an unusual name in a country district is VERY identifying) of other rape victims.

    Dave Bath’s last blog post..Consultation on ratifying UN Convention re Disabilities

  22. Unknown Troper

    Dave Bath:

    the unknown but large amount of boys mutilated and turned into girls worldwide because of Dr. John Money’s “John/Joan” ideology are male victims.

  23. tigtog

    Exactly, Unknown Troper. It’s quite telling that it’s only males with intersexual conditions rather than “normal” males who got/get mutilated though.

    As to the victim, she went on Nine full-face without identity-masking. Her neighbours are very aware of who she is, and when rape victims come forward and forgo anonymity their courage should be honoured.

  24. Francis Xavier Holden

    tigtog – good clinical (including ethical) governenance systems and outcomes monitoring will grab almost all problems well before any whistleblower could even begin to imagine them.

    Even a half arsed credentialling system run by gangja soaked hippy with a diploma in aromatherapy in Bega should have prevented Reeves from even being interviewed, let alone appointed and then given a wide scope of practice.

    If you examine the transcripts Bundaberg had no systems at all for any bloody thing – bullying, patient safety, adverse incidents, near misses, monitoring of unplanned admissions, credentialling – which is why it took years for him to be exposed.

    Jeez in any half decent hospital Patel wouldn’t have got any further than a polite email to his initial enquiry saying “Don’t call us we’ll call you” and suggesting maybe he talk to the state board of Oregon or NYC.

    I know it’s a hobby horse of mine but much of this is driven by populist notions of what is desirable range of services to be offered without regard for safe practice.

    Francis Xavier Holden’s last blog post..sound advice 1

  25. tigtog

    tigtog – good clinical (including ethical) governenance systems and outcomes monitoring will grab almost all problems well before any whistleblower could even begin to imagine them.

    Very true. There’s no substitute for properly designed systems of governance and monitoring.

  26. Sweetie UK

    Why would he whisper it to her beforehand? He’s a plain and simple torturer – she was threatened, drugged and mutilated, moreover he knew what he intended to do, he knew it was wrong, he was found out, why is this man not in jail? – plus, she should see a solicitor about the insurance company’s refusal to pay out – sounds like shaky ground to me.

  27. Cola

    No amount of money would make up for that kind of loss. I don’t know how I could ever enjoy life again… not for lack of sexual stimulation, but for the knowledge that I was truly less than everyone else. Less whole, less happy, and my relationships would never be as fulfilling as before. My ability to live would be permanently impaired.

    Ugh. He deserves worse than censure. I don’t know what.

  28. BASTA!

    What exactly is the term “medical rape culture” supposed to mean? Is it being implied that raping female patients by doctors is a relatively common practice? Is it being implied that doctors would, as a rule, stand by the patient-rapists among themselves, or cover up for them?

  29. tigtog

    Well, here’s one example [link]

  30. Daisy

    Horrifying story.

    I once had an GYN say something weirdly smug and inappropriate during an exam, and have always regretted that I never did any more about it than warn my friends away. Who is to say that these things don’t start with simple disrespect/contempt, and progress from there? I’ve always wondered if he got worse later on or if he just disliked me personally.

  31. Unknown Troper

    Most medical malpractice never reaches the press or a medical textbook

    For example, as i noted above, a lot of boys were forcibly turned into girls either directly or indirectly because of Dr John Money and his ideology but because most of the publicity and focus surrounded just one of his victims, society treats the others as if their cases had never existed or are of less worth, even though many of them suffered more (were forced to remain girls longer) or harder than the one publicity-focused case.

  32. Unknown Troper

    the media focuses – when it reports this sort of thing at all – on nurses who kill babies and kids

    The none too subtle sexism and misogyny of such biased reporting is disgusting

  33. Mother Mary

    Unlike everybody who has commented before me – I have actually been a patient of Dr. Reeves and to this day am grateful that he saved my life when I was haemorraghing and subsequently required two emergency operations – which he performed very skillfully, despite the fact that I was a ‘high risk’ patient e.g. high blood pressure etc. He was always informative, reassuring, and never made me feel uncomfortable.
    I feel so sorry for any victims of medical abuse, and would agree that after reading what has been said by ‘hundreds and hundreds’ of complainents (most coming in after several years!) that Dr. Reeves must have had a serious ‘problem’ but maybe a few people could take a deep-breath and think …’Innocent until proven guilty’ before resorting to such dangerous ‘hate comments’, based, sofar, on mostly heresay facts

  34. Lozza

    Dr Reeves delivered my baby in 1987, back then he was normal.
    This man’s Head went WRONG from 1990 onwards and he should have stopped……
    The damage he caused to MY Friends and Sisters is unforgivable.
    HE SHOULD BE LOCKED UP.

  35. “Revealed: the Butcher of Bega” at Hoyden About Town

    [...] is a followup article on Dr Graeme Reeves in today’s [...]

  36. AP

    I’ve got to wonder what would happen, both in terms of public outcry and criminal prosecution for analogous multilation of males, or even if such outrages have ever occurred (does anyone know?)

    Not entirely analogous, but what about circumcision?

    I am curious at the apparent silence of colleagues such as pathologists, who surely must have recognised that such a radical procedure was unwarranted, given the nature of the initial lesion.

  37. LP

    I’m shock that Dr reeves has done these horrible things to these woman and I feel for them,Dr reeves delivered three of my babies from 1988-1992 and back then he was normal and a wonderful caring doctor,and I don’t know what happen to him to make him do this.
    He should be punished I feel for his family.

  38. KK

    I know this a very sickening thing to read about and obviously Dr Graeme Reeves is a sick man (he does suffer from a mental illness) but please be thoughtful of the fact that he does have a family (a wife, children, sisters, cousins, neices etc) that are trying to come to terms with this awful situation that they knew nothing about until it broke in the newspapers. Thank you from a family member.

  39. Jade

    politicalguineapig – please dont put off a pap smear. My local drs surgery do them, and you can request that someone else stands in. Which I did the first few times. Drs like this are sickos, but they arent the norm.

    Drs like this make me sick. Im appauled that he isnt in jail..

  40. Unknown Troper

    KK:

    You have my sympathy – sadly people tend to punish innocent family members just for being related to a criminal

  41. Yvonne T

    I am so shocked and sadden for not only his victims,and his family but also such a wonderfully skilled Doctor has obviously developed an acute mental illness.

    I meet Dr Reeves many many years ago when rushed to hosp. needing emergency surgery not only did this man save my life I remained under his care for a number of years which allowed me to lead a healthy pain free life.

    Prior to meeting Dr Reeves I had spent years in acute pain. I had been treated by other specialist and many GPs who had misdiagnosed my condition.

    I found Dr Reeves to be professional knowledgable and very caring, treating me with respect at all times.

    Mother Mary I am also in shock and disbelieve that the person described in these stories can be the one and same man. He gave me back quality of life.

    Oh my god its all so sad.

  42. JK

    Graeme delivered my two children in 1988 and 1991. He helped me through two miscarriages, the second one he did not know about until my gp rang him and he rang me at home to see if everything was ok. Graeme took care of me after that. I do not know what happened, but back then he was a great carrying doctor, not only did he help me through my pregancies but with my second pregancy my father was seriously ill and he was kind and supportive through this time. I heard Graeme had problems and was not able to practice in Sydney, but I am sadden to hear it has taken this long for something to be done. Not only has his family suffered but he has too. I hope that somebody can help him, as he was once such a caring and sincere doctor. I am sorry that these women have had to suffer, but believe me Graeme was not always like this, it is so hard to believe that this could happen to someone so nice and caring.

  43. lsrj.org » Blog Archive » Whom To Trust?

    [...] he had refused to treat a woman’s puerperal fever. The woman later died. The medical board found that the doctor had “impaired mental capacity”. But he didn’t stop [...]

  44. Yvonne T

    I dont believe any of this is plan and simple Laurdel

    As I was a patient of Dr Graeme Reeves for many years during the 80s and early 90s, like JK said, he was very supportive and caring and professional. As I said in my previous post he followed thru with treatments after my emergency surgery which gave me back quality of pain free life. Other Drs. I had seen didn’t give a hoot and did not understand my condition at all. It was other Drs. neglect that I ended up needing the emergency life threatening surgery in the first place. I also had knew other women who was under his care and they also felt that he was a great Dr. Some of these women were also in the medical field.

    I am not making excuses for what Dr Reeves has done since those days. All I know is that he once was a wonderful Dr who really did care about his patients and their welfare.

    My heart goes out to his victims, and his family and I feel a great loss has occured to the medical field as he really was once a great Dr.

    I dont pretend to know everything about mental illness but do think something tramatic must have happen to tip him over the edge and drasticialychange this persons personality from being so caring to being so horrible.

    The medical board have a lot to answer, in allowing this kind practices to occur.

    I am finding it hard to come to terms with what has occured that this Bega Butcher is the one and same person.

    Again my heart goes out to all those who have suffered.

  45. su

    Lauredhel @ 51. Absolutely and the resolute refusal of society to understand this is why someone can victimize hundreds of women before someone calls a halt. I don’t think Yvonne and JK realise that he was simultaneously supportive of some patients while mutilating others. He wasn’t victimizing every single patient. He was selective. You were just the lucky ones. We have to get away from this cardboard cutout notion of abusers as conspicuously, and visibly monstrous. They just aren’t. And the more intelligent a person, the better they are at avoiding detection or at least keeping people quiet.

    I wonder how many of his professional colleagues knew or suspected but remained silent? There was a very similar case in the US a few years ago but I haven’t been able to find the write up.

  46. Unknown Troper

    “I wonder how many of his professional colleagues knew or suspected but remained silent?”

    Probably a lot – that’s how an American nurse was able to keep harming and ultimately killing babies and children – people suspected but didn’t act or didn’t believe the rumours until it was far too late – according to Crime Library her last employer – a female doctor – figured the nurse was “just a victim of the patriarchy”.

    As i said earlier, innocent people are usually punished just for having a relationship with a criminal – when what the nurse had done came out that employer was blamed by the public and even her own family – she lost her patients, her husband divorced her, her family turned on her and the public treated her as a pariah.

  47. LP

    I have to agree with what Yvonne said I was a patient of Graeme’s for many years and he was very caring ,supportive and kind person I was a very high risk patient and he took very good care of me,and yes I feel for the woman that he has hurt and what his family is going through,something very bad must of happen to graeme for him to do this and I’m not making excuses for him I hope he gets the help he needs.
    But still I’m having a hard time dealing with this as this is not the man I knew all those years ago.My heart goes out to the woman he has hurt and what his family must be going through.

  48. LP

    You have to remember but then he was normal I had no problems with him,I feel so very sorry for the woman he has hurt,and yes he should be punished but hey remember he has a family who are hurting to.

  49. Elisabeth McGrath

    Dr. Graeme Reeves delivered my son at Hornsby Hospital on 13/10/85. Very supportive during difficult pregnancy. Performed surgical procedures early in pregnancy to correct problems. Eight years later, he was still my gynacologist. But he was starting to unravel…. erratic…. angry…. judgmental, scornful. My sympathy to his victims. I’m sorry I didn’t report him. I just looked for another doctor…

  50. tigtog

    It’s understandable that women who weren’t victimised by Dr Reeves when they were his patients wish to believe that he was exactly the good guy that he seemed to be. But it really is unlikely that he was, as su said at #53:

    I don’t think Yvonne and JK realise that he was simultaneously supportive of some patients while mutilating others. He wasn’t victimizing every single patient. He was selective. You were just the lucky ones. We have to get away from this cardboard cutout notion of abusers as conspicuously, and visibly monstrous. They just aren’t. And the more intelligent a person, the better they are at avoiding detection or at least keeping people quiet.

    Certainly, it appears that sometime in the 90s Dr Reeves changed so that he was more blatant about his mutilations, and this is when alarm bells rang at Hornsby and the first disciplinary proceedings against him were taken. But it’s almost certain that someone with the particular mental disorder that he is alleged to have would have been mutilating patients before then as well: probably the lesser-educated, or patients he knew were already mentally ill – the public hospital patients, not the privately-insured ones.

    There are lesser creeps out there practising in ObGyn as well. At one hospital I worked in there was a surgeon who was infamous amongst the theatre nurses for the appalling misogynist “jokes” he made about women’s bodies and especially their genitalia while they were under anaesthetic, and especially notorious for his hypocrisy: he always ensured that his private patients came back from the operating theatre where he insulted their unconscious bodies to find a single long-stemmed rose on their pillow! (His public patients got squat, of course.)

    Dr Reeves is an extreme, but not an exception.

  51. Yvonne T

    I dont see any of Dr Reeves patients who have posted on this thread and were under his care during the 80s are condoning nor making excuses let alone pitting him for his actions, which thus far seems to have began sometime in the 90s.

    Yet it appears that some authors on this thread are intent by way of using bad language and phrasings that are attempting to belittle these patients who were under his care prior to his erratic behaviour.

    These patiets saw a totally different side to Dr Reeves that has been described by his victims. I dont see any of these 80s patients disputing these stories but are bewilded by the total change in personality and behaviour.

    Of these patients who have posted on this thread and who were under his care during the 80s. All appear to be shakened and are having a hard time coming to terms with these reports whilst trying to grasp at some sort of understanding of this horrid situation and are asking the question why and how & when, this has happened. These 80s patients have had personal dealings with this Doctor over a long period of time without any adverse incidences.

    I guess when we read horror stories such as has been reported about Dr Reeves it is easier to assume that these sort of people are born evil so there for have always been evil cunning and manipulative, selecting their pry liken to a wild animal.

    Yes this could well be the case,than again it may not. Psychiatic illnesses is far too complex to be simplified and labelled in such a manner.

    I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones who was treated by this Doctor,during what appears to be pre mental illness. Because of this I have the utmost sympathy for his victims,their families and his family.

  52. tigtog

    This blog does not regard obscenities as “bad language” – we’re far more likely to be offended by “polite” language which asserts obnoxious claims. [link]

    Our point is that you cannot know that he wasn’t mutilating other women in the 80s, simply because he didn’t mutilate you. That he became more erratic in the 90s meant that he got caught – but there’s no guarantee at all that he wasn’t selecting certain patients to harm previously which he successfully concealed.

    The private patients of the hypocritical misogynist gynecologist I mentioned earlier? They would all swear on a stack of holy books that he was a sweet caring man, because they didn’t hear him insulting their genitals with crude sexual slurs in the operating theatre, they just saw a genial man who left a rose on their pillow.

    Just because Reeves was competent in treating you and kind to your face doesn’t mean that he spoke kindly of you behind your back, or that he treated all his other patients competently. You simply don’t know.

    Now of course, neither do we, BUT as Lauredhel notes in her other post about Reeves, the disciplinary hearing of the medical board ordered him to have psychiatric treatment for a personality disorder, NOT for a mental illness. Personality disorders are lifelong conditions, as she further explains in that post. The erratic behaviour which led to him being caught out in the 90s might well have been a mental illness on top of his personality disorder, but the personality disorder will have been there all along.

  53. Unknown Troper

    Yeah, no more “Doctor Reeves was a…” posts please

    Because he was a sick,twisted, psychotic monster who probably thinks the only crime that happened was that he got caught

  54. Yvonne T

    Our point is that you cannot know that he wasn’t mutilating other women in the 80s, simply because he didn’t mutilate you. That he became more erratic in the 90s meant that he got caught –

    Yes this is the point we DO NOT KNOW.

    The 80s patients have simply stated they saw know signs of unprofessional behaviour during this time. But until this case is fully investigated by the authorities, we will most like remain in the dark.

    Like I mention in a previous post I knew other women who were also under his care in the 80s, some of these were professional people who had close work relationships with Dr Reeves. Do you think if they had witnessed any unusal or unprofessional behaviour towards patients and or heard whispers. Do you think they would have chosen him to care for them. I think NOT.

    As for personality disorders, there are thousands of people with these disorders which are grouped into various clusters, ranging from very low to extreme. Not every person who has a personality disorder will turn into a monster that inflicts harm on others.

    It has been established that he did suffer from a personality and relationship disorder, was order to continue with professional pysch help. Call it what you will the fact remains at some point in time era unknown but so far reports that have emerged are during the 90s.

    I feel it is demeaning to the patients that have been abused by Dr Reeves. So I will close by saying that I feel this discussion has come to a dead end, as bickering about an era doesn’t change the fact that many reports of abuse have been brought to light, regardless of the era when they may have or may not have began.

    I hope to high heavens that he is brought to justice quickly.

  55. tigtog

    I feel it is demeaning to the patients that have been abused by Dr Reeves.

    To be presented with a litany of “but he was nice to meeeee” anecdotes? Sure. I’m sure that’s not quite what you meant, but that’s my opinion.

    I hope to high heavens that he is brought to justice quickly.

    We can at least agree without reservation on that. Hear, hear.

  56. Watermelon Joe

    This is quite a disturbing story.

    I have read through these posts with great interest. Assuming (as I do) that this doctor is in fact a ‘sociopath’, I wonder about what sort of thought processes he was having over the years.

    It makes you wonder about other ‘madmen’, Martin Bryant for example. What exactly is going through their minds? Did they always have these thought processes? From birth (nature vs. nurture) or did it depend on their surroundings, their upbringing?

    When I heard about this story – I felt angry and upset. You hear those born-agains going on about ‘this sick old world’ that we live in – and when I see one of these victims on the TV on Sunday morning – wailing like a banshee about the state of the world – and how in Christ’s name something like this could happen (in the friggin information age), it makes me angry and sad.

    Are perhaps some people ‘pure evil’?

    And then there are old patients of his saying ‘he was so nice’ and ‘I can’t believe he did this’ – Well BELIEVE IT. Like one guy said – sociopaths are often intelligent, competent and charming. Well I say – Any person you pass on the street could be a sick twisted maniac. It wouldn’t matter if you were in Sydney or Broken Hill. And that is the state of the world today.

    Christianity is not the answer and I don’t believe Islam is either.

    It’s the authorities – the systems – the government. They just need to tighten up a bit. Have everything computerised – keep cameras on everyone – keep tabs on everyone – that will keep some of these freaks in check.

    In my opinion – find the guy – arrest him – try him in a court of law – if found guilty – set him to work digging trenches or somesuch. I don’t agree with the death penalty – it would be better to exploit this man for his labour for the rest of his life.

    Hopefully this terrible story will shame the authorities into action. They have played a major role in these events. How many millions do the government spend on the military? Why not tighten up the health service? Pump billions into that. Because there is no consensus. There are no protests. Organisations like the Socialist Alliance are not even taken seriously in this country. So while people keep borrowing $400000 for a house – and filling up their tanks – and buying cigarettes and alcohol – and keep beating their wives and gambling and working 40 hr weeks and drinking and smoking and going on holidays and buying cars and buying plasma screens and generally thinking about themselves as opposed to the current state of society – UNTIL that changes – don’t hold your breath waiting for ‘sociopaths’ to stop acting like sociopaths. People like this guy thrive in this environment.

  57. Mel

    It was with Horror that I watched the Dr Reeves story on the Sunday Program as I fed my two moth old daughter.

    One of the stories related to several women who had caesarian births where Dr Reeves also removed their uterus. I Come from a medical household and am told that a hysterectomy and a caesarian birth should never be done at the same time and would only occur in an extreme emergency. My Daughter was born by caesarian and there was 2 anesthetits, 2 OBG’s not to mention the theatre nurses. I cannot understand how other experienced medical staff stood by while Dr Reeves did this and said/did nothing.

  58. Mother Mary

    In addition to my post No.39
    I am still confused re. Dr.Reeves behaviour. I am not apologising for him. My surgeries were performed at Pambula Hospital in 2002 (at the ‘height of his madness’) I am a registered nurse with theatre experiece, although this was unknown to the Dr. or staff. All medical personnel, as well as his other patients, who I spoke to at that time regarded him highly. Dr. Reeves had even performed complicated, successful corrective surgery on a woman in the next bed to mine – she had nearly died due to the effects of routine surgery done by the gynaecologist Dr. Reeves had replaced!
    I applaud the brave women who have documented cases of abuse for coming forward publicly.
    I am horrified at the figure of 800 complaints so far, and wonder how many more will there be in response to a full page ad. published in the Bega District News on 29.2.08 by Brydens Compensation Lawyers wanting ALL X-PATIENTS of the “Butcher of Bega” to contact them prior to sending in a TEAM of visiting specialists.
    All the truth needs to be revealed as soon as possible, legal actions taken, fail-safe complaints reporting instigated, and victims compensated and supported with sympathy and understanding

    team

  59. tigtog

    I’m not surprised that you are confused by his behaviour, MM.

    I note that both your surgery and the surgery of your fellow patient that you noted above were complicated, indeed lifesaving, surgeries. I imagine that someone who was undoubtedly a gifted surgeon still had enough ego that he wanted the praise (and indeed pure personal satisfaction) for getting the complicated surgeries right.

    So far the reported cases of mutilation seem to involve Reeves removing organs/tissue arbitrarily during what should have been very simple operations. Presumably there would not have been as many other people in the OT during such procedures either.

  60. tigtog

    P.S. it may have been pure self-preservation too – scans etc after complicated surgeries are common, but not so much in simple surgeries where the patient presents with no post-op complications. Post-op scans would reveal abitrarily removed organs immediately, so he would have been caught immediately with respect to all those uteruses removed during c-sections. But post-op scans of c-sections are almost unheard of.

  61. Naomi Eve

    This story makes me sick, and reassures me that I am making the right decision by having all my sexual-health issues dealt with by female doctors at a women’s clinic. I was treated by a Prahran Bowen practitioner who has recently been arrested for something like 8 rapes, and it’s a bizarre feeling to think “I’m glad I wasn’t attractive enough for him to try it on me too”. The fact any of these abusive, criminal, misogynist doctors decided to pass over any of us and attack other women instead should NOT be a mark in their favour. No criminal performs their criminal acts on every single person they meet – yet society still thinks of them as criminals. Can you imagine how much support someone would get for saying in public “Martin Bryant was really a lovely young man, I really feel sorry for him, how difficult for him.” I find it interesting to see that JK states “I am sorry that these women have had to suffer, but believe me Graeme was not always like this, it is so hard to believe that this could happen to someone so nice and caring.” For god’s sake people – “this” happened to the WOMEN. Can you imagine saying to the family of someone Martin Bryant shot and killed, “it’s so sad that this happened to Martin”? Sure, Reeves is in a different position because he is a doctor and so his non-criminal acts have improved the quality of some people’s lives. But I hope to god no judge ever decrees that his punishment should be at all decreased because he did some good as a doctor. Like the blog article says “This isn’t a borderline case, a known but unfortunate side effect, a medical slip”. He doesn’t deserve forgiveness – he didn’t slip up just once – he was systematically and horrifically torturing, abusing, mutilating and assaulting plenty of women. Patients of his who had good experiences need to get over their own issues about how to come to terms with this fact – but NOT by decided he was a great doctor, and something just “happened to him”. No more sympathy, please. He gave up the right to our sympathy a long time ago.

  62. tigtog

    I’m with you, Naomi.

    Just one nitpick:

    it’s a bizarre feeling to think “I’m glad I wasn’t attractive enough for him to try it on me too”

    It’s time for this rape/abuse myth to die. Victims are chosen much more for their perceived vulnerability/trustingness and the perpetrator’s judgement that they will get away with it than for their “attractiveness” per se.

    That’s why, despite the just-so-story evolutionary-psychology arguments about the reproductive nature of the male urge to rape, most rape victims are either much younger than the age of peak female fertility (peak fertility mid-20s vs rape victims mostly under 18) or very much older (disturbingly high numbers of frail post-menopausal elderly victims).

  63. Naomi Eve

    you’re right – it’s not that i wasn’t attractive enough – but i must be honest and say this is one of the first thoughts that flitted through my head when i heard about the case – also because he was very charismatic and i was really impressed by him – and because i generally don’t believe people find me attractive due to my very child-like build and until recent surgery, slightly deformed jaw. so it did go through my head – “i wonder why he didn’t do it to me, i guess i wasn’t attractive enough”. the correct question like you say is “i wonder why he didn’t do it to me, i guess i didn’t fit his requirements”. but i would guess that standards of “attractiveness” could be one of many factors which a rapist considers when deciding who to attack?

    it’s nice to know that maybe i appeared confident or even powerful. i think the me of 5 years ago would be very happy to have known that.

  64. tigtog

    i would guess that standards of “attractiveness” could be one of many factors which a rapist considers when deciding who to attack?

    I’m sure that rapists/abusers, like most of us, have a “type” to whom they are more strongly attracted than others, but that won’t necessarily correlate all that strongly to media beauty standards. Within that “type”, the persons selected as targets will be the ones the rapist/abuser feels capable of isolating, subduing and terrorising so that they can get away with it.

  65. Followup: medical rape in Australia at Hoyden About Town

    [...] And following up on the Graeme Reeves case: [...]

  66. Dysthymiac

    suddenly ‘Hoyden’ has all these blog-less readers who have survived amazing surgeries.

    2. it went straight through to the keeper when the very-revealingly pseudonymed MOTHER MARY stated that the PREVIOUS ob/gyn at this hospital was also incompetent.

    Dysthymiac’s last blog post..anodyne feline

  67. Dysthymiac

    PS I will nominate Reevs for an OA if the composer of this gem –
    “I dont see any of Dr Reeves patients who have posted on this thread and were under his care during the 80s are condoning nor making excuses let alone pitting him for his actions, which thus far seems to have began sometime …”

    can give me an example of the super-pluperfect subjunctive text …. wah ha bwah ha

    Dysthymiac’s last blog post..anodyne feline

  68. James

    We’re all backyard psychologists these days, with the papers, the authorities, and even public blogs all so dumbfounded at these horrors that we offer up partial explanations of psychosis and insecurity to explain him. Perhaps we are a bit too inundated with thriller films and books about serial killers and detectives who “see inside their minds”. I fear this has resulted in a system that feels it must explain behaviour before it can punish – a futile exercise in the face of such horrors. Sounds like numerous acts of Grievous Bodily Harm to me, and the whisper to the woman in her last conscious seconds before her mutilation not only scares me more than Hannibal Lecter, but also sounds like evidence for premeditation, or “mens rea” as the law calls it.
    Speaking from the half of the population that once claimed the role of protector, I have to say the “old boys” protection of one of their own sounds very plausible. But where were the husbands of the victims? Wasn’t there one husband out there angry enough to put the good doctor permanently on a missing-persons list?

  69. Siobhan

    I watched the Sunday programme and all I could do was cross my legs tightly imagining the pain and suffering these women experienced as well as feeling totally sick to my stomach.

    What springs to my mind is Jack the Ripper.

    I wholeheartedly applaud Carolyn Dewaegeneire for her courage, conviction and her inspiring mission to ensure no woman is ever treated the way she has been treated and I am glad that the Sunday programme was prepared to be honest in their portrayal of Carolyn, her condition and her situation.

    I am lucky enough to know an extermely skilled French surgeon who has devoted a lot of research to female sexuality and worked with other innovative French surgeons with victims of female circumcision; restorative surgery and psychotherapy. I am happily feeding information to him to see if there is any way that either he or one of his colleagues can help these women becasue I know that the skill level in Australia is limited – they were all invited to attend a conference last April in Sydney to combat Sexual Violence Against Women. I feel from what he has explained to me that there is hope for women like Carolyn to regain a sense of their sexuality and if I can help in some small way, it is the least I can do.

  70. jennie cooper

    Two words….Female Physician.
    Visit females gynies and avoid misogynist male variety.
    They say that men become gynies either because they love women or hate them. This is all about control

    Be brave, take control and ask questions. Doctors are not infallible. Abandon the obsolete notion that doctors are some how more important/intelligent/powerful/respectable than anyone else.

  71. tigtog

    That’s huge.

  72. Dysthymiac

    Dear Laurelhed, re “grammar flames” –
    1. I wasn’t mocking, I was illuminating the IQ of the rapist’s Defender, as any QC would;
    2. I really am a hoyden.

    Dysthymiac’s last blog post..anodyne feline

  73. Lea-anne

    God i think i remember this guy from when i was a studnet nurse. He was red faced and panicky. Watched him deliver the baby, roughest delivery i had ever seen, thought the woman was going to die. She bled a lot though. Scared the sh** out of me as a second year student. Reading all this is making me feel ill.

  74. RM

    My wife was butchered and nearly killed by Reeves at Hornsby Hospital in June 1989.
    We read that the first complaints against him started in 1985.
    We wish that someone of the various referring doctors or hospital staff or hospital administration had warned us.

  75. Matilda

    This is why I only see female doctors – much safer.
    I worked in prosecutions for a few years and saw a pattern emerging – sexual assault by male doctors, male nurses, male orderlies, male morgue attendants – do you see the common factor?
    I personally could never have a pelvic exam performed by a male – the power dynamic freaks me out – and if something inappropriate was said or done, it would haunt me for years. (the male Dr who jiggled a woman’s thighs and grimaced before doing the Test, horrifies me – see above post) BTW you should have reported that behaviour – it’s only by reporting these creeps that something can be done about them. So many women walk away and these men carry on with their disrespectful behaviour. (& criminal behaviour in some cases)
    But that’s what men do – judge our bodies…they’re turned on by body parts – he’s a leg man or a boob man.
    Women are in a very exposed and vulnerable position when they’re having any sort of gynaecological exam.
    I certainly don’t believe men change simply because they go to medical school.
    At University, one of my friends went out with a 5th year medical student for a year or so….this man spoke disrespectfully about women and had a reputation for groping and pinching – it made my flesh crawl when I heard he’d decided to specialize in gynaecology and obstetrics.
    I shudder to think….
    No thanks…safe and sound with my gorgeous female doctors.
    I should add over those years at DPP there was not a single case of sexual assault by any female medical provider.
    Did you hear about the male dermatologist sent to prison last year for the digital rape of several of his patients – you’d think you’d be safe with a dermatologist?
    This stuff makes me so angry…whenever you have men in a position of authority with access and opportunity, some will take advantage.

  76. Matilda

    I just wanted to add that the vast majority of sexual assaults go unreported…
    I was touched inappropriately at a work function many years ago by a very senior policeman.
    I regret to this day that I didn’t pursue a complaint – there were no sexual harassment officers in those days and everyone wanted to forget about it. My boss said that he’d been drinking and was probably very sorry. I was also, concerned a complaint might compromise my career.
    I found out later that this man had a reputation for sexually assaulting young women – we all let him get away with it and he kept assaulting…
    When you’re assaulted, a numbing thing happens – a combination of shock, embarrassment and disgust – we can’t predict how we’ll act, but the majority of women seem to escape and then feel quite isolated…not knowing what to do…
    Of course, these attacks usually involve young women – when we’re least likely to have the confidence to stand up to these creeps.
    I’m now senior in my workplace and have zero tolerance for sexual harassment.
    These attacks stay with a woman for the rest of her life – I read recently that 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime….1 in 4!!! (from inappropriate touching, peeping toms and rape)

  77. Matilda

    I certainly wasn’t chastising you…I’m sorry if it came across that way.
    I totally agree with you, every word…
    It just bothers me that so many of these men just keep getting away with this sort of conduct.
    It still bothers me that I let my assaulter get away with it scot-free, obviously empowering him to carry on assaulting.
    When there are no repercussions for improper behaviour, these men have no reason to change…and sometimes, their bad behaviour escalates…
    It’s sometimes the hardest thing in the world, but if we report these men, there is the possibility of change…although it clearly has it’s risks – will it affect my career? Will I be believed?
    I think if my attacker had even been forced to apologize, it would have made me feel better and maybe, the incident would not have stayed alive for me, as long as it has….provided some closure.
    I’m not sure of the answer – perhaps, making the complaint system more accessible – I think work-based sexual harassment officers have made a difference – women seem happier to have a quiet word about behaviour that makes them uncomfortable…
    Maybe, we need these sorts of officers at the Medical Board and in the Police force as a first stop for complaints – someone to offer advice and support you through the process.
    It’s a complex issue and there is no easy answer.
    I agree men have to take responsibility for their behaviour…alcohol, a medical degree or anything else is no excuse…

  78. BA

    Wht wst f tm. f y gr t b trtd b ml dctr y gt wht y sk fr. hv n sympth r mpth fr n f y. Grw brn.

  79. kimberlee

    GET BACK UNDER YOUR ROCK B.A…What a worthless bit of shit you are!!!!…Reeves was my Dr also…We had no choice down here on the far south coast about which gyno to see..male or female….He was the only damed one within a 300k radius…
    You are a bit of work BA…

    [physical threat removed by mod. ~L]

  80. yvonne t

    Please can some please decipher BA message. I come from an era when spelling and grammer was considered to be legible

  81. Mindy

    @ yvonne

    It was disemvowelled because it was abusive/rude/otherwise offensive to readers of this blog. If you wish to try to decode it by putting vowels back in for your own amusement go for it. Disemvowelling is a deliberate policy for abusive posters on this blog.

  82. yvonne t

    Thank you Lauredhel

    I guess naive of me to think it was some sort of new age text message. I really could not be bothered to try to interpret it.

  83. Rozasharn

    I am … mildly surprised, and saddened and angry, that the only action considered by the authorities seems to be revoking his medical license. Cutting off body parts is Grievous Bodily Harm, as James said: this man should be facing criminal prosecution.

  84. fuckpoliteness

    Oh dear. Sadly I just stared at B.A’s comment for long enough to get the jist. Just when I thought nothing about this case could make me more ill.

  85. Graeme Reeves has been charged — Hoyden About Town

    [...] Tarella has now accumulated enough evidence to arrest and charge ex-obstetrician and gynaecologist Graeme Reeves, dubbed the “Butcher of Bega”, on a number of violent offences against women. There [...]

  86. P.P.

    “Disemvowelling is a deliberate policy for abusive posters on this blog.”
    I know a lot of people favour this method, and also the occasional recreational troll roast.
    I’d feel a lot more comfortable not having to see evidence of trolling at fem sites, at all.
    Just knowing they’re there reading…

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