Anaesthetist suspended in gastric band dispute

A CONSULTANT anaesthetist, who has left several gastric band patients in the lurch after he closed his clinic without anynotice, has been suspended by his new employers at Ennis General Hospital.

Several callers to RTÉ’s Lifeline in recent days told heartbreaking stories of how Dr Laszlo Ruscsak had taken thousands of euro from them for gastric band operations in Budapest and then failed to provide adequate aftercare in this country.

Marie, a single mother of one from the South, said she “begged, borrowed and stole” for the operation. She was six stone overweight. She paid over €6,300 to the Haven Cosmetic Surgery Clinic for her operation and her aftercare. The aftercare never materialised.

“I am so upset. I feel like locking myself into my house. I feel frightened, paranoid and depressed just as anyone else would who has been robbed,” she said.

Marie was 16 stone when she had her operation in April. On the return plane journey, she suddenly found that she couldn’t breathe and she was “weak and sore”. Two days after returning home, she had an infection.

As part of the procedure, patients are supposed to receive a saline injection approximately every four weeks afterwards. The saline re-tightens the band and prevents the person from overeating. Marie said she took diet pills and was supposed to exercise in tandem with the injections.

Last July, she tried to ring the Haven Clinic to book her next injection – she had paid €2,300 for aftercare alone – but discovered that her emails were bouncing back and that the clinic numbers were out of service.

Marie was promised that she would drop six stone to 10 stone following the insertion of the gastric band. So far, she has dropped only three stone and without the saline injections, it’s unlikely that she will be able to benefit properly from the band.

Other callers to Liveline repeated similar stories. It has since emerged that the consultant had moved to Ennis where he was working for the Global Medic medical staffing agency.

A spokesman for the HSE West said they took the allegations very seriously.

“The consultant anaesthetist mentioned on yesterday’s Liveline has been suspended by his employer Global Medic while an investigation is carried out into the alleged use of public hospital addresses as contact points for private work,” a spokesman said.

Dr Laszlo Ruscsak’s appointment to the agency followed standard vetting procedures which confirmed he is properly qualified and registered with the Irish Medical Council.

The Medical Council last night refused to comment on whether there were complaints lodged with them about his involvement in the cosmetic surgery industry.

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) last night said it too was unaware of any complaints surrounding Dr Ruscsak.


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