Family want surgeon and anaesthetist suspended pending inquiry

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The family of 10-year-old Zayyaan Sayed, who died shortly after surgery, plans to lay criminal charges against paediatric surgeon Dr Peter Beale and anaesthetist Dr Abdulhay Munshi, reports News24. According to Sayed family lawyer Rob Kanarek, the family would also apply to the Health Professions Council of SA for the men’s suspension pending a hearing to revoke their licences to practice. “What our mandate is, is to ensure that this does not happen again,” Kanarek said.

“We have obtained an undertaking from Netcare that he (Beale) is suspended pending an inquiry as to what occurred. It has assured us that it is an independent inquiry and that it will leave no stone unturned to find out what happened.” Both doctors have since been suspended from practising at Netcare facilities pending an independent investigation.

News24 areported that Beale had been suspended from Mediclinic in 2016 but continued to practise at Netcare.

Both Netcare and Mediclinic declined to comment. 

Kanarek added that since Zayyaan’s death, many families who have lost their children after being treated by Beale have made contact with him. Zayyaan’s lung collapsed shortly after a routine laparoscopic surgery. He was taken to the intensive care unit but died not long after that.

Speaking to News24, Munshi said Zayyaan had a rare complication which they tried to treat, adding that both he and Beale were still traumatised by Zayyaan’s death.  Beale’s lawyer Jeanne Albertse said: “Prof Beale is unable to currently comment further on Zayyaan’s passing. However, he stands ready to participate in any legitimate investigation by appropriate authorities.”

The HPCSA has come under fire after revealing it was running multiple investigations into Beale at the time two children died after an operation he led. The investigations, according to the HPCSA, were into his competence, among other things, says a Sunday Times report.

The SA Medical Association (Sama) has slammed the council, describing it as ‘inefficient and ineffective’. This comes as the Hawks and Special Investigating Unit are investigating HPCSA staff for allegedly fraudulently licensing medical practitioners and taking bribes.

Sama head, Dr Angelique Coetzee, said its members described the HPCSA as ‘inefficient and ineffective in carrying out its mandate’. ‘Sadly, these same inefficiencies are experienced by members of the public,’ she is quoted as saying by the Sunday Times. “It is unfortunate that four years after the task team’s report, most of the same problems, including poor communication, unfair processes in carrying out professional conduct inquiries and prolonged delays in processing applications, still persist.” Dr Chris Archer, head of the SA Private Practitioners Forum, said the HPCSA’s functioning was deplorable.

“It used to be that it was a council of doctors, by doctors, for doctors looking after patients’ interests. Now it is essentially a council appointed by the Health Minister, which we have a problem with.” Manzi said the HPCSA ran effectively and fulfilled its responsibilities, but complaints about its actions and inaction were increasing.

News24 report Sunday Times report (subscription needed)

See also

Surgeon’s and anaesthetist’s privileges withdrawn by following child’s death

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