Thursday, 18 April, 2024
HomeMedico-LegalGynae in botched op legal suit now faces fraud charges

Gynae in botched op legal suit now faces fraud charges

A gynaecologist appeared in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court last week facing fraud charges after a patient, Hlengiwe Mbambo, who claimed he botched her total hysterectomy, also accused him of failing to disclose he was using an unregistered assistant at the time.

Dr Kofi Kwaw-Asante was released on R2 000 bail for the incident in December 2022 at Life Fourways Hospital.

Mbambo had opened the fraud case against Kwaw-Asante and his assistant last year, reports City Press, as well as a case with the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) after suffering several severe health repercussions from her surgery. Last month, the HPCSA concluded Kwaw-Asante was guilty of unprofessional conduct and incompetence.

The HPCSA also said the assistant doctor used during the surgery, Michael Acheampong, was not registered.

Kwaw-Asante was fined R30 000, a further R15 000 for using an unregistered assistant, and R20 000 for putting Mbambo’s life in danger, after an incomplete consent process. The verdict stated that Mbambo had not been adequately informed of the risks involved in her surgery.

His lawyer, Maria Philippides of Webber Wentzel, said he denied committing a crime, and had performed his surgery professionally. According to her client’s knowledge, she added, Acheampong was a qualified medical practitioner who had qualified overseas.

“It is regrettable his HPCSA registration status was not disclosed to Kwaw-Asante,” said the lawyer.

“The criminal aspects of this matter are currently before the court … While Kwaw-Asante is saddened by Mbambo’s experience, he denies her allegations, which include that he did not conduct her surgery professionally. Experts have confirmed he acted with the requisite care and skill… Mbambo’s complications are not uncommon in this type of surgery, and she was made aware of the risks before undergoing the surgery.”

Mbambo had previously said the doctor was casual about her matter and showed no empathy about what had happened to her.

However, Philippides said her client constantly communicated with Mbambo and offered further medical advice and interventions, but the mother of two delayed taking up further medical advice offered by the doctor.

“Mbambo ultimately elected to obtain a second opinion and seek healthcare elsewhere. Kwaw-Asante respected her decision and co-operated fully by providing her with copies of her medical records required by her new doctor.”

‘Had option to defend’

On the doctor being found guilty by the HPCSA, Philippides said: “The outcome of the HPCSA’s preliminary inquiry does not amount to a final finding concerning his professional conduct, but rather a preliminary finding in relation to what the HPCSA considers a minor transgression.”

She said Kwaw-Asante had the option to defend the case, but he chose to pay the R65 000 fine so that all parties involved could find closure. By paying the fines, she added, the doctor was not admitting guilt, and it did not mean he was convicted by the HPCSA.

The HPCSA said he “has accepted the penalty and paid the fine, and the case is closed and in line with the regulations”.

The doctor’s lawyer told City Press her client was still practising at Life Fourways Hospital, and would “continue to provide high quality medical services to his patients”.

Not a hospital employee

The hospital said he was not a hospital employee, but an independent healthcare professional with admission rights.

Karisha Quarrie, head of clinical directorate at Life Healthcare said: “Our current internal investigation relating to the complaint by the HPCSA is ongoing. Once we have access to the details of the alleged criminal charges, further steps can be considered in alignment with our governance processes and policies…”

In November last year, police confirmed they were investigating a case of attempted murder and impersonating a medical practitioner.

The doctor returns to court on 11 April.

 

News24 article – Doctor who botched Hlengiwe Mbambo’s surgery faces fraud charges (Restricted access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Gauteng doctor fined after botching hysterectomy

 

Hospital distances itself from surgeon after ‘botched’ op

 

 

 

 

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