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Prosecution proceeds against doctor ‘callously’ jailed while on emergency call

An ear, nose and throat specialist who was arrested and jailed for breaking curfew while attending to a medical emergency, will appear in the Edenvale Magistrate’s Court again on 5 August, reports MedicalBrief. Expectations had been that the case would be withdrawn.

Dr Ivan Jardine admitted he did not have a permit to travel after curfew hours but added that it was a medical emergency, which under the Level 4 Disaster Management Regulations, under Section 17 (1)(b)) does not require permits.

A statement released by the SA Private Practitioners Forum (SAPPF) called for an investigation into the conduct of the police officers and an apology to Jardine. CEO Dr Simon Strachan said “the hard line action by the arresting officer against a doctor legitimately out at night responding to a bona fide emergency is deplorable, insensitive and callous”.

Jardine of Kensington, east of Johannesburg, spent last Friday night in the Edenvale police holding cells with four other people after being accused of violating the COVID-19 curfew, although he had told police he was attending to a medical emergency in the West Rand, says a TimesLIVE report.

Jardine is a surgeon of 30 years’ standing based at the Bedford Gardens Hospital in Johannesburg, according to a Daily Maverick interview, and is part of essential medical services responding to the debilitating third wave of COVID in Gauteng. At 10am on Monday morning, however, he was not on duty at hospital. “Instead, he was among drunken drivers and people accused of petty crimes at Edenvale Magistrate’s Court waiting his turn to plead before a magistrate," reported Daily Maverick.

His charge? “Contravention of  the Disaster Management Act … failure of a person to confine between 21.00 and 04.00.”

Jardine said he spent Friday afternoon and evening in Quellerina, west of Johannesburg, attending to his aunt, who is in her early 80s and needed medical attention. She was dehydrated and he put her on a drip before he left Quellerina after 9pm.

“At Eastgate, the police stopped me and demanded a permit and demanded an ID. I said I was doctor. They did not believe me.”

He was arrested and placed in a police cell with others, who included three members of a local Community Policing Forum who said they had been on patrol when they were arrested. Another was a man whose car had broken down and whose brother had arrived to assist him. Both were arrested after the curfew hours kicked in.

After the doctors arrest, he said he called everyone he knew who could confirm that he was a doctor, including the manager of the hospital.  At 11.30pm, he said he was interviewed by a detective who set bail at R2,000, but he had only a credit card, no cash.

He was finally released on bail on Saturday morning when a relative arrived with the bail money. He later said he and the other prisoners were in a 3×4 cell. “There was no social distancing possible and no sanitiser,” he said.

According to Daily Maverick’s report, Colonel Noxolo Kweza, the spokesperson for the SAPS in Gauteng, issued a statement saying: “The regulations including the change in the curfew time were introduced by President Cyril Ramaphosa and apply to everybody including doctors and police officers. Essential workers are expected to have a permit with them all the time, especially after curfew. And this is the case until it is changed by the president. And if you do not have the permit, police officers will arrest you. Police officers are not expected to accompany you to your home or surgery to go get or print your permit.”

“Those that fall in the category of essential workers such as the doctors need to have this permit and their identity documents as this is a way of indicating that they are who they allege to be. And the permit has to have contact details for verification purposes should there be a need.”


TimeLive article – Doctor bust for breaching curfew says he will do it to attend emergencies (Open access)


Daily Maverick article – Blue lights and red flags: Gauteng doctor on emergency call arrested for breaking curfew (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Unnatural deaths, alcohol bans and curfews during COVID-19 – SA study


President Ramaphosa’s new COVID-19 restrictions to curb third wave


SA lockdown merely a holding operation to buy time to build capacity

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