Neurosurgeon Dr. Charlie Teo has defended auctioning off the opportunity watch him operate on cancer patients.

The auction for tickets to "Spend a day with Charlie Teo," which raised about $1,500 for a children's cancer charity - raised eyebrows among some doctors, the Australian reported this week.

After being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia this week, Teo was subjected to harsh criticism in the British Medical Journal for his October auction.

A patient about to have brain surgery "will often be desperate and vulnerable" and could be coerced into agreeing to be part of the show, wrote University of Sydney public health professor Simon Chapman.

Chapman also queried whether a paying audience would respect the patient's privacy.

But Teo, who works at Sydney's Prince of Wales hospital, has since told the ABC that he does not wish patient care to be compromised by asking them to participate in the surgery exhibition.

"I would never approach the patient myself. I think that puts them in an awkward situation...I make sure someone else approaches them for their consent so they can easily say no, and thankfully we've had patients say no," he told ABC radio presenter Adam Spencer.

The neurosurgeon, who has already started the "Spend a day with Charlie Teo" experience, told the ABC that tickets typically go to parents with children who have an interest in medicine.

He also responded to criticism by John Quinn, the executive director of surgical affairs for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

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