An ex-Charlie Theo patient who was given ‘one last chance’ at life after surgery is tragically now in his final moments as his heartbroken wife and kids get ready to say goodbye.
Diego Wernicke has been battling a brain tumour since 2019 and visited Dr Teo’s clinic in Sydney in January 2021 for surgery.
The procedure was successful and Dr Teo managed to reduce the size of tumour.
However, Mr Wernicke was not declared completely cancer-free and in February, he and his family were told that the cancer had spread down his spine.
In June, the family said they were moving him into palliative care to make him more comfortable in his final weeks.
Now, a GoFundMe dedicated to raising money for Mr Wernicke’s care has revealed that the father of four young girls is getting ready to say goodbye to his family.
‘Thank you everyone for donations to date. Sadly Diego is entering his last moments with his family,’ the update read.
‘Hayley has hired death support to assist with Diego’s pallative care and any funds will assist for Diego’s final send off via cremation and to support Hayley and the kids as they attempt to rebuild their life.
‘Thank you again for your generosity. If you do have any to spare, please consider donating.’
Diego Wernicke has been battling a brain tumour since 2019. He is now getting ready to say goodbye to his family
Mr Wernicke visited Dr Teo’s clinic in Sydney in January 2021 for the surgery, which gave him more than a year extra
Dr Teo’s surgery was successful and he managed to reduce the size of tumour. However, Mr Wernicke was not declared cancer-free and in February, he and his family were told that the cancer had spread down his spine
Mr Wernicke’s wife Hayley shared a touching tribute to her husband last week.
‘Diego is declining by the day he is home with us and day by day has a new meaning to me. My life will be forever changed by this. As will the kids’, she wrote.
‘I will stand by him every moment of our days left together here. I’ve never walked this journey of transition but here I am fumbling my way through. I’ve got him and in some way I know he has me. Heart shattering and soul shaking quiet literally. My soul is shaking inside my body, I feel it so deeply. We rattle together.’
Supporters have raised nearly $13,000 to treat the father-of-four and support his family.
He was previously treated by renowned neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo.
A self-described ‘maverick’, Dr Teo has built an international following over 30 years by providing hope to cancer sufferers through expensive, so-called ‘last-chance’ keyhole neurosurgery.
‘As a neurosurgeon I offer surgery to patients from all around the world who have been given no hope,’ a message on his website reads.
The high-profile doctor has been criticised by some who allege he acted inappropriately in the operating theatre.
Other doctors in the industry have also blasted Dr Teo for the fees he charges, with his surgeries often costing in excess of six figures.
Dr Teo has previously argued he needs to charge exorbitant fees as the public health system does not allow him to operate in its hospitals, forcing him to do his surgeries in the private system where fees are much higher.
Dr Teo has been largely out of the public eye since restrictions were placed on his medical licence late last year.
Dr Teo was accused of operating on the wrong side the brain of Sydney woman Michelle Smith, who was 19 in 2003 when she went to the high-profile surgeon to get a tumour removed.
According to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald, specialists who reviewed the MRI scans 12 years later accused Dr Teo of removing healthy brain tissue from the wrong side of her brain.
But the celebrity surgeon hit back at the ‘slurs’ on his professional reputation, and said he has ‘never operated on the wrong side of the brain in my entire career’.
‘I was not given the opportunity to answer these slurs,’ he told the Sunday Telegraph.
‘If I had been given a chance to address the allegations I would have welcomed the opportunity.’
A GoFundMe dedicated to raising money for Diego’s care has revealed that the father of four young girls is getting ready to say goodbye to his family
Mr Wernicke’s wife Hayley shared a touching tribute to her husband last week. ‘Diego is declining by the day he is home with us and day by day has a new meaning to me. My life will be forever changed by this. As will the kids’,’ she wrote
Supporters have raised nearly $13,000 to treat the father-of-four and support his family
Dr Teo explained that the surgical technique used when operating on Ms Smith required approaching the tumour from a ‘difficult location’ to reduce the risk of the procedure.
He also said Ms Smith knew the tumour had not been entirely removed during the operation, but Dr Teo said he was not aware that her seizures had returned until she filed a lawsuit against him in 2019.
The case was settled out of court.
The NSW Medical Council ordered Dr Teo to provide proof that he explained the financial costs and risks to patients before operating.
He is also not permitted to perform certain operations until he obtains written approval from a fellow neurosurgeon.
The restrictions follow the medical council calling on Dr Teo to attend an ‘immediate action panel’.
The neurosurgeon accepted the directions and said he always consulted with a colleague, often from a leading medical school.
As part of the council directives, he will retrospectively review outcomes of surgeries with a colleague.
Dr Charlie Teo together with his model girlfriend and former patient Traci Griffiths, 46
Charlie Teo pictured with his daughter Nicole Teo. Dr Teo has been largely out of the public eye since restrictions were placed on his medical licence late last year