Banned Dutch doctor involved in another alleged ‘botched surgery’

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A Dutch doctor banned from surgery in Holland following two ‘avoidable death’s and who’s botched at least two previous surgeries in KwaZulu-Natal, was last week allowed to conduct an emergency operation at an Empangeni hospital, following which the patient had to have his leg amputated.

The doctor was alleged to have botched two previous surgeries at the Ngwelezana Hospital in Empangeni . According to a Sunday Tribune report, Dr Robert Muller, who was banned from performing vascular surgeries in the Netherlands, waslast week  authorised by hospital management to perform a surgery despite being moved to the urology department.

Last week, Power Menyuke, 43, had to undergo an emergency operation after he was transferred to the hospital. An angle grinder cut into his leg while he was at work, and Muller was instructed to operate. The report says several sources at the hospital confirmed that Muller failed to repair Menyuka’s artery during the operation, which resulted in excessive bleeding. They said Menyuka had to be rushed to theatre the following morning for corrective surgery, but it was too late. His leg had to be amputated to save his life. The sources said they were baffled by how Muller was authorised to perform a surgery despite his history.

The report says Muller was banned in the Netherlands after he was involved in the “avoidable deaths” of two patients at the Bethesda Hospital in the north-eastern town of Hoogeveen.

Menyuka’s wife, Sindisiwe Gumede, said the family would look at ways to find legal recourse. She said she was shocked when she heard her husband’s leg had to be amputated, because he went in for a minor injury and she was initially told he would be okay. “They told me he was going to be okay, and the next thing, I heard they had to perform a follow-up surgery to amputate his leg, because the first one wasn’t successful,” said Gumede. She said Menyuka was a builder who relied on his legs to make a living, and she was distraught thinking about their future.

The report says despite several attempts to get answers from the Health Professions Council of South Africa since October last year, they had failed to respond to queries regarding the status of Muller’s medical registration in the country. In response to the allegations, Muller said he could not comment due to departmental regulations.

KZN Department of Health spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi said: “We note the allegations raised by the newspaper. Matters related to the management of a patient by clinicians at the Ngwelezana Hospital will be fully investigated.

“Without prejudice and in keeping with the law, the department would like to state that a medical officer with experience and expertise is allowed to get involved in any clinical operation.”

Sunday Tribune report

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