Charlie Teo

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Charlie Teo

Born (1957-12-24) 24 December 1957 (age 61)
Sydney, Australia
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 but worked for a decade in the United States, where he still teaches. His sub-speciality is paediatric neurosurgery. He is the director of the Centre for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery at Prince of Wales Hospital [3] and the founder of Cure Brain Cancer Foundation (formerly Cure For Life Foundation).[3]

Teo has received much media attention[4][5] as something of a miracle worker, but some neurosurgeons have criticised him as being too radical, offering "false hope" to patients who are believed to have an incurable brain cancer or a brain tumour that is dangerously located.[6] Teo has resigned from the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia and argues that delaying the death of patients with an incurable brain cancer is worthwhile if it is their wish and that patients who seek his surgery are determined to live with a quality of life, despite being informed the surgery itself carries a sometimes considerable risk.[3][4]

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.[7] 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[8][9] Teo has also been featured in several TV programs including the ABC's Q&A, Good Medicine, 60 Minutes,[10][11] Last Chance Surgery, Australian Story,[12][13][14][15][16] Enough Rope[6] and Anh's Brush with Fame.[17]

Teo gave the 50th Anniversary Errol Solomon Meyers Memorial Lecture at the University of Queensland in August 2007.[18] Teo gave the 2012 Australia Day speech on 23 January 2012.[19]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Genevieve Teo (née Agnew); the couple have four daughters.[3]

Since 2009, Teo and his wife have been council members 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".[20]

Notable patients[edit]


  1. ^ "Teo, Charles". Search Australian Honours. Australian Government. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  2. ^ Who's Who in Australia, ConnectWeb.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Life in his hands". The Sydney Morning Herald. 10 March 2003.
  4. ^ a b "Australian Story – The Trouble with Charlie". Australia: ABC. 26 August 2003. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  5. ^ "The outsider". 27 May 2007. Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  6. ^ a b "ENOUGH ROPE with Andrew Denton – episode 185: Dr Charlie Teo (15/09/2008)". Australia: ABC. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  7. ^ Swan, Norman (5 April 2008). "Life in his Hands Susan Wyndham". The Australian. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Three Quotes From a Plumber". Sally White. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Three Quotes From A Plumber > Book Review". Archived from the original on 22 August 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  10. ^ "The outsider". 27 May 2007. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Never say die". 29 April 2007. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Australian Story :: The Trouble with Charlie". Australia: ABC. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  13. ^ "Australian Story :: His Hour Upon the Stage". Australia: ABC. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  14. ^ "Australian Story :: Dzung's Anatomy". Australia: ABC. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Australian Story :: Playing for Time". Australia: ABC. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  16. ^ "Australian Story :: To the Test & A Small World". Australia: ABC. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  17. ^
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Teo, Charlie (23 January 2012). "Australia Day 2012 Address: Full Speech". Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  20. ^ "Voiceless, the animal protection institute".
  21. ^ "Jane McGrath had 'amazing smile, attitude', says Dr Charles Teo". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. 23 June 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  22. ^ Chris O'Brien's autobiography "Never Say Die" Archived 11 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Leech, Graeme (12 July 2007). "Obituary: Stan Zemanek". The Australian. Retrieved 29 January 2011.

External links[edit]