Struck-off doctor hit with temporary further ban after Age reporting
The Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner has slapped an interim prohibition order on a struck-off doctor who had been working for a complementary medicine provider, after The Age revealed his medical licence had been cancelled after two of his patients died.
The former doctor, Malcolm Traill, had told The Age the Hawthorn-based National Institute of Integrative Medicine hired him in 2012 despite knowing he had lost his medical licence.
Former doctor Malcolm Traill.
He said he was hired as a technician for one of the institute’s hyperthermia machines – an alternative cancer therapy that heats the body using microwaves.
During the time he was there, the institute provided hyperthermia treatment to between 600 and 700 people, he said.
The National Institute of Integrative Medicine conducts complementary medicine research and offers treatment, including for cancer. A series of articles in The Age this year raised concerns about its operation and led Victoria’s Health Minister to ask the healthcare watchdog to investigate.
After questions from The Age, an institute spokesman said Mr Traill “was not employed as a medical practitioner by NIIM”.
The National Institute of Integrative Medicine, which is based in Hawthorn.Credit:Penny Stephens
“He is no longer in our employ.”
On Friday, the Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner issued an interim prohibition order on Mr Traill, banning him from offering any health services for up to 12 weeks while an investigation is under way.
Interim prohibition orders are made when the commissioner “is satisfied that it is necessary to make this order to avoid a serious risk to the health, safety or welfare of the public”.
Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner Karen Cusack said she “did not make interim prohibition orders or publish warning statements lightly”.
Health Complaints Commissioner Karen Cusack
“But where allegations of unsafe or unethical health service practices are raised, I will take action to avoid a risk to the health, safety or welfare of the Victorian public.
“I would encourage any person who is concerned about the care they or a family member or
friend may have received from Malcolm Traill to contact my office on 1300 582 113 or via
our online complaint form at hcc.vic.gov.au/make-complaint.”
Mr Traill earlier told The Age he had been recruited by the institute in 2012 after it bought a hyperthermia machine.
“[The medical board] got me for treating with hyperthermia. And then I was taken by NIIM,” Mr Traill said. “I said ‘what about the bureaucrats?’, and [they] said ‘it’s all right, [we’re] great friends with people on the Peter Mac, we’re buddy-buddies, and we’re right,’ ” he said.
“[NIIM] have a Chinese machine, which we call the NRL. That particular one, uses like a microwave oven principle, radio waves, down at a lot lower frequency. Tumours don’t like being heated up very much.
“We’ve never killed anyone yet. Treated a lot of them. I sometimes wondered how the heart manages to handle it when we treat the chest, but never had any problems.”
In 2006, Mr Traill’s medical registration was cancelled after the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria found he failed “to exercise the care and skill of a competent medical practitioner in his treatment in 2000 and 2001 of three patients suffering from cancer”.
One, a five-year-old boy, received “microwave therapy” before dying.In a second case, Mr Traill treated a woman with lung cancer with hyperthermia, microwave therapy and lithium. She later died. At a hearing about Mr Traill’s medical registration, the tribunal heard her cancer was “potentially curable”.
Mr Traill and the National Institute of Integrative Medicine have been contacted for comment.
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