Controversial stem-cell doctor faces inquest

Thursday, 16 Jun 2016


A well-known Sydney based cosmetic physician who performed an autogolous stem-cell procedure on an elderly lady to treat her dementia is at the centre of an inquest into her death.

The inquest heard on Tuesday that Dr Ralph Bright of the Macquarie Stem Cells clinic in Sydney performed liposuction on 75-year-old Sheila Drysdale on 20 December 2013 to gather stem cells to treat her frontal lobe dementia. She died the same day after returning to her nursing home.

The deceased’s husband told the court he began investigating stem-cell therapy after hearing encouraging US case studies online, according to an AAP report.

“There was never, ever any mention that she could lose her life in the process,” Mr Drysdale told the inquest.

“Had that been the case, I would never have entertained the idea.”

Mr Drysdale had previously had stem cell treatment for his osteoarthritis a few months prior to his wife’s procedure.

Mr Drysdale told the court he could not recall being told by Dr Bright or his employees about any risks or complications, or any warnings that Mrs Drysdale should stop taking her regular blood thinning medication.

Following the procedure Mrs Drysdale became pale and was “dropping in and out of consciousness” Mr Drysdale told the court.

“I said to him, ‘I’m concerned about this; I don’t like what I’m seeing’,” he recalled.

But Dr Bright reassured him that his wife was recovering and there was no need for her to go to hospital.

The inquest heard several telephone conversations took place between a nurse at the aged care facility and Dr Bright in which the nurse relayed Mrs Drysdale’s vitals.

About 15 minutes after Mr Drysdale left the nursing home on the Northern Beaches, Mrs Drysdale had no pulse.

Her surgery dressings were later found to be soaked with blood.

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