JHB doctor accused of bringing on an abortion without consent

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Ridwan Mia

South African plastic surgeon Ridwan Mia is under investigation by police and health authorities for allegedly slipping his pregnant mistress medication to bring on an abortion without her consent. According to a Sunday Times report, police have confirmed they are investigating a charge of sexual assault.

However, Mia is quoted in the report as asying that he was the victim of a shakedown. While admitting he had an extramarital affair with the woman, he claimed she wanted the abortion and that she had demanded R15m from him to withdraw the complaint. The 28-year-old woman, who was Mia’s patient, cannot be named because she is the alleged victim of a sexual assault.

She claims she bled uncontrollably for hours after the pill was allegedly administered, and had to be hospitalised. Her lawyers claim she has turned down Mia’s offer of “many millions” to drop the complaint. The report says she declined to comment, referring the reporter to her lawyer.

The alleged assault occurred during foreplay in Mia’s rooms at Mediclinic Sandton on 31 July. The report says the woman alleges he gave her an intimate massage as she lay naked face-down on a couch. It was during the massage that he allegedly inserted the medication, Cytotec. Cytotec is used to induce labour, cause abortions and treat and prevent stomach ulcers. The woman was eight weeks pregnant at the time.

The report says the Health Professionals Council of SA (HPCSA) has confirmed that it is reviewing a complaint laid against Mia – HPCSA officials are investigating allegations that Mia illegally dispensed medication using another patient’s script and induced the abortion without consent.

And the report says, police spokesperson Captain Makgowanyana Maja confirmed that a case of sexual assault had been opened. “No-one has been arrested and the investigation continues,” he said.

Mia, who wed in January, shot to international fame after he performed South Africa’s first skin clone operation on burn survivor Isabella “Pippie” Kruger in 2012. Pippie, who was three years old at the time, suffered 80% burns to her body in a freak accident when a fire-lighting gel canister exploded in her father’s hand while her family were having a braai at their home in Limpopo.

The report says Mia described the allegations against him as “ridiculous”. He said: “Everything was done with consent. How did she know that there was something to remove if she wasn’t aware of its insertion? To turn around and change the story is completely ridiculous. This was the third time she came to me for the same thing, for the same procedure, for the abortion, the third time this year.”

Asked why she had gone to him rather than a gynaecologist for an abortion, he said it was because they had previously been intimate. “We knew each other and she felt comfortable.” He is quoted in the report as saying it was a blatant case of extortion.

“I have been asked by the police for a statement. My attorney is handling this matter, which is following a legal process. We will sort it out.”

He said he would defend himself against the HPCSA complaint and added that he would provide clarification. Asked why the woman would make such an allegation, he said: “I suppose they have a number of reasons. I don’t understand these people. The legal process will show these are completely unfounded allegations. Lots of doctors get treated this way and as far as I am concerned it’s abuse of the profession and the taking advantage of doctors and shouldn’t be acceptable in any forum.”

The report says Mia described the matter as distressing, “especially when you have real legitimate patients’ needs to sort out”.

Mia’s attorney Jannie Kruger said the woman was making allegations that stood to ruin a good person’s name and reputation without any justification and without anything having been proved in court.

“Anyone can go to a police station and talk the biggest load of hogwash and open a case,” he said. “This matter comes a long way. There were mediation attempts where she claimed big bucks, R15m in fact, not to proceed with the matter. My client refused to pay and now she has gone to the police, which is tantamount to extortion.”

However, the woman’s lawyer, Rod Montano, is quoted in the report as saying it was decided to pursue charges because a heinous criminal offence had been committed in which the life of an unborn child was taken without its mother’s knowledge or consent.

“They made a formal financial offer in the millions which we declined. From the outset our client declined any financial offer stating that was not the restitution she was seeking. The restitution she wants is justice, and justice must be done regardless of the status of the accused.”

The report says documents leaked by police sources show that along with a statement, the woman also provided records of WhatsApp messages and phone conversations that she claims she had with Mia on the night of the alleged assault after she discovered a white substance when she got home from Mia’s office. The documents appear to show that the woman confronted Mia over the phone and that Mia asked her to come to his rooms in order to tend to her.

Sources with knowledge of the case said the relationship between Mia and the woman developed last year when the woman became Mia’s patient, but was broken off shortly before he became engaged to his wife in August last year. The relationship resumed in March, when the woman went to Mia for a minor cosmetic procedure, and continued off and on until July, said sources.

A source is quoted in the report as saying the unborn baby had not been Mia’s but the woman’s partner’s. “She knows it was not Mia’s baby … given the pregnancy was in the beginning of the first trimester it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out it was not his.

“She was so excited about the pregnancy and had been trying to fall pregnant for years.”

The source said the Cytotec pill is very small. “The pill is tiny, no bigger than the back of a ballpoint pen.

“She had no idea about it, until she got home that night and saw a white paste discharge.
“You can see from the WhatsApp messages Mia urges her to come back to his rooms, where he tried to flush the tablet out,” the source said.

“The woman’s gynaecologist, whose practice is also at Mediclinic Sandton, was called for help.”

The source said when the gynaecologist initially examined the woman, the baby’s heartbeat was detected and was fine. “But within an hour she began bleeding profusely and was admitted to hospital by Mia, where she was kept overnight for treatment.

“She is distraught. You hear it in the recordings where she confronts Ridwan.

“It’s clear from the recordings that there was never any consent to the abortion. What happened is horrific.”

Full Sunday Times report (subscription needed)

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