ORANGE mayor and cancer survivor John Davis has thrown his support behind Dr John Grygiel, saying his treatment and the care he received from hospital staff saved his life.
Cr Davis was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 1998 after experiencing chest pains and once he underwent an operation to remove the cancerous tissue, Dr Grygiel oversaw his chemotherapy treatment at Anson House.
“To be told from nothing to having cancer just sort of makes everything else in the world irrelevant – family comes first, second and last,” Cr Davis said.
“It was scary – I was told I would be lucky to live three or four years if they hadn’t got it.
“My wife always wanted a red sportscar and I thought I was going to die so I bought the car – I didn’t die but we’ve still got the car, that’s how final it was.”
Cr Davis described Dr Grygiel’s manner as professional.
“He said there could be side effects like loss of hair, which is hardly a problem, whether it makes you nautious or put on weight, you could have ulcers in your mouth, but my wife said whatever option we’ve got to take, which is what we did,” he said.
“He told us how it was, he explained our situation very, very clearly and he asked how I was travelling, the after effects and are they acceptable or not acceptable – the treatment I received was exemplary.
“Dr Grygiel and his treatment and the staff at Orange certainly saved my life, it was as simple as that.”
Cr Davis said he could only speak about cancer treatment from his experience, but he believed Dr Grygiel treated people on a case-by-case basis and he did his best.
“It’s not an easy three pills and saying that’s the ideal dose whether you weigh 50 kilos or 200 kilos,” he said.
“There’s an enormous difference in all cancers in where they are and whether they can be treated and you’ve got to have the flexibility.”
Cr Davis was reassured by the report into Dr Grygiel’s treatment of patients in Bathurst and Orange, saying it was not as harsh as the St Vincent’s Hospital findings, where 103 people were affected, however he questioned why one clinician was targeted when cancer was unpredictable.
“They don’t say you’re guaranteed for five, 10 or 20 years – you can have the treatment but it’s still a scourge,” he said.
Cancer Institute NSW Professor David Currow conducted the review, looking into patients treated by Dr Grygiel from 2006 onwards.
Of the 28 central west patients he confirmed were underdosed, 14 later died, but Dr Currow could not determine whether the lower dosage affected survival rates.