South Africa: Paediatric Surgeon Under Investigation After Death of Another Child

A paediatric surgeon practising at Netcare Park Lane Clinic in Parktown, Johannesburg, has been suspended after the death of a young boy on Friday, October 11.

Dr Anchen Laubscher, Netcare's Group Medical Director, said Dr Peter Beale had been suspended pending an internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the boy's death.

News24 had previously reported on another child who passed away after a routine surgery, also performed by Beale earlier this year.

Of his suspension, Laubscher said: "A peer review of all relevant information relating to the incident has been initiated, and a committee will determine sanctions as deemed appropriate, based on clinical and ethical guidelines.

"Once this process has concluded, it will be determined whether a report on the matter will be provided to the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)," Laubscher told News24.

An anaesthetist, Dr Abdulhay Munshi, has also been suspended along with Beale.

News24 understands the child's family have instituted criminal proceedings.

Lisa Strydom also her lost her little one after a surgery performed by the same doctor.

What was supposed to be a routine surgery, turned into the Strydom's worst nightmare.

"He told me that he had cut a vein and [Alissa had] lost quite a lot of blood. He said he dropped a needle but managed to stop the bleeding and pick up the needle. He said that she is stable and in recovery and we're just waiting for her to wake up," Strydom told News24 in June.

Alissa, however, did not wake up.

Independent specialist governed by HPCSA

Meanwhile, 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.

"Kindly take note that specialists are in independent practise as governed by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), and are not in the employ of the hospital. Their work is regulated through the HPCSA, which is tasked with monitoring the standards and professionalism of registered healthcare professionals.

"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, HPSCA communications manager, Priscilla Sekhonyana, told News24: "This was an honest mistake which has since been corrected. Mrs. Straydom [sic], Mr. Kruger, and Prof. 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 behalf of Beale.

Source: News24

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