Charlie Teo

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Charlie Teo

Charles Teo.jpg
Charlie Teo (foreground, left) in 2018
Born (1957-12-24) 24 December 1957 (age 63)
EducationUniversity of New South Wales
Years active1981–present

Charles Teo AM[1] (born 24 December 1957)[2] is an Australian neurosurgeon.

Early life and education[edit]

Teo was born to Chinese-Singaporean parents who immigrated to Australia.

He attended The Scots College and the University of New South Wales, graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery in 1981.[3]


Charlie Teo trained in Sydney completing a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) at the University of New South Wales.[4][5][6] He started out in general neurosurgery at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital before moving to the United States.[7][8] In the United States he completed a fellowship in Dallas, Texas, where he became the only Australian neurosurgeon certified by a US medical board.[7][6][9] Teo spent almost 10 years in the United States where he was an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the state-of-the-art Arkansas Children's Hospital.[7][10][11]

He is the director of the Centre for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery at Prince of Wales Hospital,[3] the founder of Cure Brain Cancer Foundation (formerly Cure For Life Foundation),[3] and the founder of the Charlie Teo Foundation.[12]

Over the course of his career Teo has developed a strong international reputation in the field of minimally-invasive (or ‘keyhole’) neurosurgery,[13][7] he has been invited speaker and visiting professor in more than thirty-five countries, associated with such institutions as Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Albert Einstein University, Marburg University and the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.[7][6][12] He has written some thirty book chapters and numerous scholarly papers. While still teaching regularly in the USA, he also teaches and sponsors the education of neurosurgeons from developing countries such as Peru, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Romania, and treats children from developing countries with neurological conditions.[14][15]

Teo has received much media attention[16][17] as something of a miracle worker.[18][19] In May 2019, controversy arose when a prominent urologist commented on the large number of GoFundMe campaigns requesting considerable sums of money for patients to have surgery done by Teo, when Australia's public health system should be performing any required surgery in the public system.[20][21]

The 'Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Australian' was an annual trust survey, where participants rated their level of trust of a high-profile Australian out of 10.[22] Charlie appeared first or in the Top 5 for several years. Charlie was rated most trusted Australian in 2012, 2013 and 2014.[23][24][25]

A story about Teo and one of his patients, the young pianist Aaron McMillan, is detailed in the book Life in his Hands by Susan Wyndham.[26] A patient of Charlie Teo's, Sally White, has written of her experiences in Three Quotes From A Plumber: How a Second Opinion Changed the Life of a Woman with a Brain Tumour[27][28] Teo has also been featured in several TV programs including the ABC's Q&A, Good Medicine, 60 Minutes,[29][30] Last Chance Surgery, Australian Story,[31][32][33][34][35] Enough Rope[36] and Anh's Brush with Fame.[37]

In 2011 Teo's significant contribution to society was recognized when he was made a Member of The Order of Australia for service to medicine as a neurosurgeon through the introduction of minimally invasive techniques, as a researcher, educator and mentor, and through the establishment of the Cure for Life Foundation.[38][39][40]

Teo gave the 50th Anniversary Errol Solomon Meyers Memorial Lecture at the University of Queensland in August 2007.[41] Teo gave the 2012 Australia Day speech on 23 January 2012.[42]

Personal life[edit]

Teo was married to Genevieve Teo (née Agnew); the couple had four daughters.[3] They separated in 2018.[43]

Since 2009, Teo has been a council member for Australian animal welfare group Voiceless. "Doctors may not have direct responsibility for the injustices of modern agriculture but we do have the power to help overcome them. We hold a privileged role in society; we are trusted as scientific minds and reliable carers. Our communities will listen when we explain the illness and suffering that lies hidden behind the closed doors of factory farms".[44]

Notable patients[edit]


  1. ^ "Teo, Charles". Search Australian Honours. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  2. ^ Who's Who in Australia, ConnectWeb.
  3. ^ a b c d "Life in his hands". The Sydney Morning Herald. 10 March 2003.
  4. ^ "UNSW Spotlight: Charlie Teo". Arc UNSW Student Life. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  5. ^ "Dr Charlie Teo". UNSW Newsroom. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Charles Teo, 2012". National Portrait Gallery collection. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e Wyndham, Susan (5 September 2019). "From the Archives, 2007: What drove Charlie Teo, the country's most controversial brain surgeon?". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  8. ^ "Dr. Charlie Teo, a resident Neurosurgeon at Royal Prince Alfred..." Getty Images. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  9. ^ "Controversial neurosurgery: Interview with Charlie Teo". Neuro Central. 12 July 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  10. ^ "Why brain cancer is no match for neurosurgeon Charlie Teo". Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  11. ^ "Dr Teo's Australia Day address". 23 January 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  12. ^ a b Doreian, Robyn (13 April 2018). "Charlie Teo: The lessons my mother and daughters have taught me". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  13. ^ Blackmores. "Keeping an open mind towards complementary medicines: Dr Charlie Teo". Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Lunch with Charlie Teo". Australian Financial Review. 19 May 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  15. ^ "Dr Charlie Teo". Q+A. 20 December 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Australian Story – The Trouble with Charlie". Australia: ABC. 26 August 2003. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  17. ^ "The outsider". 27 May 2007. Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  18. ^ "'Miracle worker': Patient backs surgeon Charlie Teo in debate over medical fees". 29 May 2019. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  19. ^ "Cancer patient of Charlie Teo to go overseas for further treatment". 19 June 2019. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  20. ^ McClymont, Kate (5 September 2019). "Brilliant, adored, flawed: Dr Charlie Teo unmasked". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  21. ^ "Harrowing and humbling: surgeon in the eye of a social media storm speaks out". Australia: Fairfax Limited. 2 June 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  22. ^ Tay, Liz (21 June 2013). "Surprising Facts About Australia's 10 Most Trusted People". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Australia's most trusted people". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  24. ^ "Reader's Digest Australia Trusted People 2014 survey results". NewsComAu. 17 June 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  25. ^ Anderson, Stephanie (18 June 2013). "Rudd and Turnbull top trust poll". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  26. ^ Swan, Norman (5 April 2008). "Life in his Hands Susan Wyndham". The Australian. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  27. ^ "Three Quotes From a Plumber". Sally White. Archived from the original on 11 December 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  28. ^ "Three Quotes From A Plumber > Book Review". Archived from the original on 22 August 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  29. ^ "The outsider". 27 May 2007. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  30. ^ "Never say die". 29 April 2007. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  31. ^ "Australian Story :: The Trouble with Charlie". Australia: ABC. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  32. ^ "Australian Story :: His Hour Upon the Stage". Australia: ABC. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  33. ^ "Australian Story :: Dzung's Anatomy". Australia: ABC. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  34. ^ "Australian Story :: Playing for Time". Australia: ABC. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  35. ^ "Australian Story :: To the Test & A Small World". Australia: ABC. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  36. ^ "ENOUGH ROPE with Andrew Denton – episode 185: Dr Charlie Teo (15/09/2008)". Australia: ABC. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  37. ^ "Anh's Brush with Fame - TV Episode Calendar".
  38. ^ "Brain surgeon, Ex-mayor among NSW honours - ABC News". 25 January 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  39. ^ Anonymous (28 January 2011). "It's an honour". UNSW Newsroom. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  40. ^ corporateName=Department of Premier and Cabinet; address=52 Martin Place, Sydney. "Australia Day 2020 - Australia Day Address 2012 by Associate Professor Charlie Teo AM". Retrieved 12 May 2020.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  41. ^ Academic VP. "University of Queensland Medical Society – 2007 E.S. Meyers Memorial Lecture". UQMS. Archived from the original on 21 November 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  42. ^ Teo, Charlie (23 January 2012). "Australia Day 2012 Address: Full Speech". Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  43. ^ Hornery, Andrew (9 October 2020). "The glamorous blonde in brain surgeon Charlie Teo's life". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  44. ^ "Home". Voiceless.
  45. ^ "Jane McGrath had 'amazing smile, attitude', says Dr Charles Teo". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. 23 June 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  46. ^ Chris O'Brien's autobiography "Never Say Die" Archived 11 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  47. ^ Leech, Graeme (12 July 2007). "Obituary: Stan Zemanek". The Australian. Retrieved 29 January 2011.

External links[edit]