Anesthesiologist “con man” apologizes for faking cover-up charges against Australian university


It’s not uncommon for scientists accused of wrongdoing — especially if they’re fired for it — to attempt to muddy the waters by claiming that they are being framed because they had threatened to blow the whistle on others.  Some of those stories have more than a grain of truth to them.

Here’s one that doesn’t.

Paul Barach, an anesthesiologist who accused his former employer, the University of New South Wales, of a massive cover-up — and in turn accused by his employer of being an academic grifter — has admitted making up the affair.

The Australian, which broke the story, says Barach — a U.S.-born physician — has apologized for making the claims. According to an earlier article in the paper:

Dr Barach’s claim that he was unfairly dismissed from the university in 2009 has so far prompted a Fair Work case, a NSW Ombudsman inquiry and explosive allegations in parliament of a cover-up involving UNSW’s vice-chancellor Fred Hilmer.

Now the university has added a new chapter to the saga by filing a court document which accuses Dr Barach of being a conman with a 15-year history of fraud and deceit.

In a submission to the NSW Supreme Court – where Dr Barach is suing UNSW for defamation – the university argues that his dismissal was entirely justified because he is a fraud, a cheat and an incorrigible liar who has plagiarised the work of colleagues and repeatedly falsified his credentials.

In support of its claim, the university cites more than 130 alleged instances of his dishonesty, going back to the late 1990s, when he first practised as an anaesthetist in the US.

Dr Barach is yet to respond to the claims, but his defamation case – which has already been running for 2 1/2 years – has become an arena in which many reputations are now at stake.

Now, however, Barach has admitted to fabricating the allegations:

Dr Barach has now unreservedly withdrawn those allegations and issued written apologies to the university and to Mr McIntosh, acknowledging that Professor Hilmer, Mr McIntosh and other university staff “acted with propriety at all times”.

“During the period after my cessation of employment with UNSW, I made assertions within the pursuit of my claims and publicly including to journalists and Mr John Kaye MP that I now know not to be true,” he said.

Barach came to the university in 2008 with a glowing resume — at least on paper. According to The Australian:

His curriculum vitae listed training at Harvard Medical School and senior appointments at the University of Chicago and University of Miami. He had published widely and been a high-profile speaker on the subject of patient safety, even appearing on Oprah Winfrey’s television talk-show. … Yet within 10 months of his arrival, Dr Barach was sacked on the grounds that his curriculum vitae and grant applications contained false information.

Barach appears to have an affiliation with something called the International Academy for Design and Health, a Stockholm, Sweden-based organization. His bio on the group’s website states:

Dr Paul Barach is a board-certified Anaesthesist and intensive care expert, with fellowship training at the Massachusetts General Hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School, where he trained and practiced. He was Chief Quality Officer for the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Healthcare System and was Director of the UNSW Injury Risk Management Research Centre (IRMRC) as Professor of Safety Science and Injury Prevention, and acting Head, School of Risk and Safety Sciences. He lead the NSW Trauma Collaborative Injury Research Program (

He holds various academic positions at the Universities of South Florida, USA; Cork, Ireland, and, Stavanger, Norway. He leads the European Commission funded European Handover Research Collaborative, a $5 million project to improve patient transitions and reducing patient readmissions (

Paul has worked in the health industry over two decades as a clinician, educator, researcher, health administrator, and consultant (health services planner and health facilities planner). He has extensive national and international experience. He has worked on several health projects including in service redesign, developing and implementing organisational change, continuous quality improvement, feasibility studies covering acute care, mental health and ambulatory care. Clients are from the Australia, UK, USA, Norway, Netherlands, Ireland and Singapore. He has a proven record of research and scholarship and has attracted over $12 million in research funds from US, EU and Australian federal agencies. He has published over 150 peer review papers and scientific publications.

None of those articles has been retracted, to our knowledge.

We’ve covered another high-profile case at UNSW, involving Levon Khachigian.


10 thoughts on “Anesthesiologist “con man” apologizes for faking cover-up charges against Australian university”

  1. The Australian articles are paywalled, for those who want a work-around, if you enter these links into google
    and click on the google links somehow the paywall dissolves away

    I was amused by this quote
    “Was the subject of complaints from both patients and colleagues, including allegations that he exhibited “severe rage” and created an atmosphere of fear by talking about his special forces training in the Israeli military.”

    Strictly speaking he hasn’t admitted to fabricating anything (although I assume he did) as that would imply purposefully making claims he knew were false at time. What he says is:“During the period after my cessation of employment with UNSW, I made assertions within the pursuit of my claims and publicly including to journalists and Mr John Kaye MP that I now know not to be true”

    It is hypothetically possible that he might have made a genuine good-faith complaint against Dr McIntosh and genuinely believed subsequent events were payback. You would have to spend time examining the time-line of the actions of all parties to see if it was possible.

    1. Ref littlegreyrabbit……..

      All one has to do is spend some time, maybe a couple of hundred hours or more, starting with reviewing and cross-referencing the “I did this, and that, and more of this and”…….so forth and so forth as indicated in his CV and then you will get an idea as to what the truth of the matter is. It is much more than a few typos or incorrect entries as claimed. It is repetitive and blatant. The evidence that would have been presented had this case gone to trial, was far and away more damning then losing face with an apology, much, much worse.

      In the end, reputations that were seriously damaged, may never regain their standing in the medical research community again. No one takes into account the collateral damage these false claims can amount to. It affects the lives of family members, colleagues, grant money, research and publication credibility to name a few.

      There was no “good-faith” involved, just calculated retribution, honed by years of experience and practical application, and I am not referring to the medical lab.

      All of these comments are “opinions and conjectures” and I trust they will be interpreted as such. The court record (filings, submissions, and evidence) speaks for itself as a public document.

      1. Sure, I guess we should just take what the UNSW says on trust.

        All I was pointing out that the statement Dr Baruch made might as easily be compatible with someone cutting his loses on a pointless and costly lawsuit. Many people stretch the truth on their CVs, a lot of people lie during divorce proceedings and if we chased down everyone who lifted a passage or two hardly any reviews would be left standing.

        I am assuming that the University had buyer’s remorse regarding Dr Baruch before he raised concerns about Dr McIntosh, but I don’t know. If the University started aggressively investigating his background after he raised concerns then the whole affair takes a different complexion. There is nothing within your comment, this blog post and the two newspaper articles that speaks to that issue. And I am not interested enough to wade through the court documents to find out.

        I am sure I don’t need to remind you that the Australian has a reputation of aggressive coverage of some parties, and high on that list at the moment are Green politicians. As I said, I expect Dr Baruch fabricated his complaint against Dr McIntosh as a distraction, I am just surprised that evidence for this rather significant claim has been left buried in court documents and not displayed front and center.

        1. Cannot argue with most of your points.

          Ego and inherent psychological issues of an individual can prevent one’s logic to evaluate the pros and cons of entering into such a costly and lengthy proposition. It goes far beyond saving one’s reputation and in this case, historically it has proven successful for the plaintiff. As the battle continued, and when it became personal, even though I cannot speak for the university, I think the game changed and the defense was then resolute in going the long route vs bailing out by capitulating to the demands presented.

          Because of the way this ended, it assured that the facts and evidence in the matter would forever be sealed by the court. That is one of the less popular aspects, but understandable for preventing a full scale trashing if, in fact, the evidence so presented itself…….but we will never know. Note though, this has been used many times successfully in the past by this person, which acerbated the search for facts and admissible evidence.

          In hindsight, the proper protocol is to initiate the potential employee’s background review BEFORE hiring, not after, when it then becomes damage control. That in itself would have provided a more clear and concise view of possible conflicts with the school’s goals and policies, and any concerns related to the reputation of the institution.

          Lastly, I cannot argue against your point reference reporting standards of newspapers in general. This story, by all accounts, including reviews by those familiar with the case, supports the contention that it is factual and accurate. If you have not already, may I suggest you review the Morning Sun Herald’s previous articles on the matter. They will support your theory. Those appear to have been based upon one point of view, that of the plaintiff, and from my perspective, the author(s) did very little to investigate the allegations and/or look at the accuser’s past. Would that have made a difference? Maybe, maybe not. Having to completely rely upon these publications to provide news worthy facts vs sensationalism can questionable at best.

          I appreciate your thoughtfulness and presenting another perspective in what has been from the beginning, a “no-win” situation for everyone. Sadly.

  2. Interesting and extensive reading. Clearly this is not one sided, as is suggested by the address on the Barach allegations by a member of the New South Wales Parliament. This can be found at:

    If indeed Barach had unilaterally apologized and withdrawn his allegations, surely the University, which is a public institution, would have an obligation to consider pursuing him for the $2-3 million it outlayed for the case. There is no mention of this in the newspaper story which contains a remarkable amount of information not previously in the public domain. One is left to consider therefore that this did not occur, and that perhaps a deal was struck between Barach and the University, with only what Barach conceded to the University being written about.

    It would be of interest to know what the Ombudsman had to say on the Barach allegations about the running of the University and the actions of a relative of its Vice Chancellor. Alas, there is nothing publicly available on this.

    1. The allegations were independently investigated and found to be untrue. Including any “cover-ups” that might have been implicated had there been any shred of truth.

      How does one squeeze a rock and expect water to flow………….the best option for all involved was to settle the matter in the manner it was, which was agreed upon by both side’s legal representatives as well as the principals involved.

      It is not always about the money. Reputations do have meaning to some individuals, as well as institutions that have a value system to adhere to. So, with that perspective in mind, and looking at the alternatives available, the stress of a prolonged battle was financially and emotionally not an option in the eyes of those accused.

      Hearsay and vague excuses notwithstanding, the facts, as limited as they are, are what they are. Seconding guessing, looking for hidden meanings, the “what if’s”, and conspiracy factions aside, the potential damage that would have resulted, had all the evidence been presented in open court, the aftermath could have had far reaching consequences. Or so I’m told……………and I have no reason to doubt.

    2. You should know that Greens MP John Kaye is a former UNSW academic who may have his own ax to grind against VC Hilmer and the university in general.

      Also note that Andrew McIntosh, the relative you mention, no longer works for UNSW and hasn’t for several years. This is in spite of being considered an excellent academic by research metrics (peer-reviewed papers, grants). His life was negatively affected by this, yet the courts found no basis for Barach’s accusations and he ultimately apologized. He’s only been found guilty of being Fred Hilmer’s son-in-law.

      The decisions from Fair Trading Australia can be found below. UNSW sacked Barach during his probationary period which Fair Work considered ‘reasonable’.

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