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HomeMedico-LegalNeurosurgeon defends stance on Agrizzi’s prognosis

Neurosurgeon defends stance on Agrizzi’s prognosis

Neurosurgeon Dr Herman Edeling yesterday defended not performing a physical examination on former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi, accused of tender fraud.

Edeling was being cross-examined his evidence on Agrizzi's fitness to stand trial alongside former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti, the department’s former CFO Patrick Gillingham and former Bosasa CFO Andries van Tonder.

Agrizzi fell ill in October 2020 and has since been unable to attend two cases in which he is charged, reports TimesLIVE.

According to Daily Maverick, Agrizzi was diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension, obesity, acute renal failure, and liver dysfunction by pulmonologist Dr Muhammad Chohan. Agrizzi is mechanically ventilated and sedated, but is conscious and on dialysis. According to the medical report, his chances of survival are less than 30%-40%.

Edeling said he stopped operating on patients in 2008 and began treating, assessing and investigating brain injury cases in patients referred to him by lawyers.

He told state advocate Arno Rossouw that the defence asked for his opinion on whether Agrizzi was neurologically fit to stand trial, and that Agrizzi had impaired brain function due to multiple medical conditions and as a result was not neurologically fit to stand trial.

Edeling also dealt with the affidavit of neurologist Dr Lize Steyn, who criticised the manner in which he came to conclusions on Agrizzi’s condition. Steyn was appointed by the state to examine Agrizzi.

The first criticism was that Edeling did not perform a physical examination when he met Agrizzi in March last year.

Edeling said this was immaterial as his purpose was to examine Agrizzi’s brain function. He said the method of clinically examining brain status was by talking to a patient and asking questions.

Steyn also said Edeling came to his conclusion based on medical notes after Agrizzi was admitted to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in October 2020. He was hospitalised there after being denied bail in one of the cases he faces.

Edeling said it was acceptable to arrive at conclusions based on medical records.

Agrizzi's advocate, Mannie Witz, asked Edeling to make medical observations on Agrizzi, who attended the inquiry virtually from home.

The trial has been provisionally postponed until 20 July pending the outcome of this inquiry.

Agrizzi is accused of offering gratification to former ANC MP Vincent Smith arising from four contracts worth R1.8bn awarded by the Department of Correctional Services to Bosasa and its subsidiaries.

Agrizzi and his co-accused are named in a second litigation stemming from the allegedly irregular R1.8bn tender. The four contracts, awarded between 2004 and 2007, were for catering and training services, the installation of CCTV cameras and perimeter fencing, and the supply of a television system and monitoring equipment.

Agrizzi testified at the Zondo Commission on 23 January 2019, where he gave self-incriminating evidence and testified that he was aware of, and involved in, corruption throughout his time at Bosasa.

 

TimesLIVE article – Neurosurgeon defends his position on Angelo Agrizzi's fitness to stand trial (Open access)

 

Daily Maverick article – Ailing former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi’s chances of survival ‘less than 30-40%’, court told (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Court seeks inquiry into Angelo Agrizzi’s medical condition

 

Zuma’s ‘ life-threatening emergency’ again spotlights the weaponising of medical testimony

 

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