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HPCSA probes ‘magnitude’ of negligence claims against paediatric surgeon

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The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has launched an investigation into paediatric surgeon, Dr Peter Beale, who has been accused of medical negligence by several families, reports News24. The HPCSA’s investigation concerns allegations made by these families to determine the magnitude of the case. It will also investigate those who assisted in operations with Beale.

Many families have come forward to tell their story

Sekhonyana explained that the council had already approached some families who have accused Beale of wrongdoing. Sekhonyana said the council had decided “to invoke Chapter 4 which allows for it to institute the investigation where it is of the view that an act of misconduct is suspected”.

The report quotes HPCSA spokesperson, Priscilla Sekhonyana, as saying: “The primary aim is not to suspend the practitioner but to ascertain the magnitude of the cases, this will then inform the direction to be considered.” She added: “It is important to note that there are three main practitioners in the operation of the patient: the surgeon; the anaesthetist and the theatre nurse. Therefore, if the information is available to the HPCSA and it directs toward precautionary suspension on the part of the surgeon or the anaesthetist, then suspension regulations will be invoked.”

She added: “On the part of other parties, the HPCSA has contacted some family members mentioned in the list and the hospitals where the practitioner was operating for information.”

Beale’s attorney, Jeanne Albertse, is quoted in the report as saying that neither she nor Beale had been notified about these proceedings.

The South African Society of Anaesthesiologists (SASA) have, meanwhile, declared their support for one of their members suspended by Netcare, reports News24. Beale and anaesthetist Dr Abdulhay Munshi, were suspended pending an investigation by Netcare after 10-year-old Zayyaan Sayed died following a routine procedure. According to the report, SASA said it backed their suspended member during the investigation. “The SASA member most closely involved in this incident has been receiving, and continues to receive, support from SASA. The society is supporting him as the incident is investigated and managed.”

The Society said it was aware of the death and “the impact this has had on the patient’s family, on the doctors who attended the child and of the larger team involved in his care”. While SASA extended their “heartfelt sympathy” to the family, it said the situation was complex, raising concerns over the suspension.

“This particular death has complex clinical and profession associations. These make interaction, investigation and investigation difficult and sensitive. There are significant concerns with respect to potential regulatory failures, precedent with respect to unilateral suspension of clinical practice; and trial by media prior to appropriate investigation.”

According to the report, it added that “SASA fully supports transparency, fairness and prioritising patient safety”.

According to the report, it added that “SASA fully supports transparency, fairness and prioritising patient safety”.

News24 report

News24 report

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