Controversial brain surgeon Dr Charlie Teo has broken his silence in a touching tribute to a teenage patient he called his “miracle girl”.

The former Australian of the Year has been quiet online since a series of conditions were imposed on his medical registration following complaints from fellow colleagues last year.

Before the in-depth review of his medical practices, Dr Teo was a decorated surgeon loved by many, who made a name for himself by operating on those with incurable or inoperable brain cancers.

One of his most well-known patients was Amelia “Milli” Lucas, a 14-year-old from Perth who crowdfunded $170,000 to afford Dr Teo’s services and flew across the country to Sydney for the operation.

After successfully removing 98 percent of Amelia’s life-threatening brain tumor with the experimental surgery, she was hailed Dr Teo’s “miracle girl”.

In a lengthy social media post, Dr Teo discussed Milli’s “simple but enlightening” legacy in a bid to attract funding for his eponymous brain cancer charity.

“There is nothing worse than the death of a child,” he wrote.

He said the teen was “an exceptional example of how to make the most of one’s life” throughout her ongoing battle with cancer, which claimed her life in January 2021.

“When faced with adversity, you can be angry, resentful, bitter and consumed or you can accept the hand that you’ve been dealt and make the most of what you have,” he said.

“(Milli) was an engaging and beautiful soul. When I think about each time I saw her, she was always smiling. I loved her dearly.”

According to Dr Teo, brain cancer is the most deadly disease for children in Australia, but research is woefully underfunded.

“It has a significant socio-economic impact on our society as a killer of children and young people, yet governments aren’t pouring in the research funding,” he wrote.

“Brain cancer isn’t a common cancer, so put simply: it doesn’t win votes.”

The high-profile brain surgeon asked for donations to his charity, The Charlie Teo Foundation, which he said was dedicated to funding the “desperately needed” research into brain cancer.

“It’s not fair that children like Milli are dying and there are no treatments for them,” he said.

“I don’t want to have to tell another parent, ‘I can’t save your child’.”

He went on to detail the challenges that come with being a brain surgeon, as he compared himself to an “elite athlete” as he tries to achieve the same focus and success in a much higher-stakes environment.

The brain surgeon made nationwide headlines last year as he was slapped with a series of restrictions on his medical license.

Following complaints from colleagues, a ruling was made which including a rule which requires Dr Teo to obtain written support from an approved neurosurgeon before performing certain types of surgery.

“If the written statement does not support the practitioner performing the procedure(s) the practitioner cannot recommend or perform the surgery,” the statement on his registration states.

In a statement to the Sydney Morning Herald, Dr Teo said he accepted the direction from the Medical Council to consult with another neurosurgeon on two types of brain surgery, and that he will also have retrospective discussions with a colleague to review outcomes of surgeries.

The council is also allowed to randomly audit Dr Teo’s records.

Image credits: Instagram 

This article first appeared on OverSixty.