Surgeon’s and anaesthetist’s privileges withdrawn by following child’s death

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A Johannesburg paediatrician — already under peer review by Netcare, having earlier been suspended by Mediclinic and fined by the Health Professions Council for gross negligence — has had admitting privileges suspended at Park Lane Clinic following the death of a 10-year old boy.

The Sayed family has blamed a top paediatric surgeon for the death of their 10-year-old son, Zayyaan, after the child died following a seemingly routine procedure. The family claim the actions of former Wits University professor of paediatric surgery Peter Beale, 73, and his anaesthetist, Dr Abdulhay Munshi, 56, caused the death of their son last Friday. According to a Sunday Times report, they are one of several families who have made such claims since 2012. Beale and Munshi were suspended by Netcare after the incident at Park Lane Clinic.

At the time his suspension, Beale was: under a Netcare peer review after previous complaints were made against him; fined R80,000 by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) in 2018 for, among other things, gross negligence; and suspended by Mediclinic in November 2016.

The report says Beale – who practises at Life Brenthurst Clinic – described his suspension as a “kneejerk” reaction. “It’s tragic, but it’s not my fault.” He said Zayyaan was overweight and South African hospital staff standards are “questionable”. “With the best intentions you do the best you can, but particularly working in this country, you are dependent on other people like anaesthetists, paediatricians, nursing staff, and it’s not that nothing ever goes wrong,” he said.

Brigadeer Mathapelo Peters confirmed an inquest docket had been opened. “No person has been charged pending prosecutorial determination.”

Netcare group medical director Anchen Laubscher said: “Given the seriousness of the matter, a decision has been taken to temporarily suspend the admitting privileges (of Beale and Munshi) pending our investigation. We have previously reviewed complaints about Beale, who first admitted patients to a Netcare facility in December 2011. A recent set of complaints pertaining to Beale before Zayyaan’s death prompted the initiation of a peer review process. This has not been concluded. As a peer review recommendation had not yet been provided, the committee did not have sufficient grounds to permanently suspend Beale’s practising privileges.”

Lisa Strydom also her lost her little one after a surgery performed by the same doctor, reports News24. What was supposed to be a routine surgery, turned into the Strydom’s worst nightmare.

At the time, asked if the hospital would take remedial action against Beale, Laubscher said Beale was an independent specialist and governed by the HPCSA, which launched its own probe into the doctor. “The HPCSA handles investigations of complaints against healthcare professionals and any disciplinary proceedings these may give rise to. The HPCSA Regulator is empowered to remove healthcare professionals from its national register should they fail to meet the required standards of professionalism and due care. As such, Netcare will await the outcome of the HPCSA’s investigation in regards to the case referenced,” Laubscher said.

Strydom, however, had to wait three years for any information on her daughter’s cause of death from the HPCSA. During this time the council sent her the wrong cause of death, meant for another family who had also lost their child under Beale. It found that Beale acted unprofessionally and subsequently fined him R80 000 for “operating on the wrong side (and) inadequate informed consent”.

At the time, the HPCSA spokesperson was quoted in the report as saying: “This was an honest mistake which has since been corrected. Mrs Straydom (sic), Mr Kruger, and Professor Beale were all informed about this honest mistake and our humble apologies were extended to them accordingly.” The final outcome of the investigation, however, found no wrong doing on the part of Beale.

Sunday Times report News24 report

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