MEC accuses rural doctor

2008-04-29 00:00

THE KZN Health Department has lifted the month-long suspension of Dr Mark Blaylock, the Manguzi doctor who was slapped with charges of misconduct for throwing Health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni’s picture into the dustbin.

But he is to be investigated for a litany of other offences including the alleged use of a Manguzi hospital operating theatre to perform surgery on his dog and the victimisation of junior hospital staff.

Blaylock has apologised for the picture incident, which was provoked by Nkonyeni’s comments that rural doctors “only care about profits”.

Nkonyeni revealed the new allegations at the provincial legislature yesterday when she delivered her 2008/09 budget.

Addressing the media afterwards, Nkonyeni said the department has proof that Blaylock used a theatre to perform surgery on his dog.

“Patients had to wait outside while he operated on his dog. We cannot allow this as human life always has to come first. We also know that he sometimes allows his dog to be present at the surgery while he operates on patients,” Nkonyeni said.

Blaylock is also to be investigated for his alleged assault on a Manguzi hospital garden worker.

“Blaylock assaulted the worker with his stethoscope after the worker chopped down a tree that Blaylock said had a sentimental value to him.”

It is also alleged that he referred to some black hospital staffers as “baboons” during last year’s public servants’ strike.

“In most of these cases, Blaylock apologised and we left those cases,” said Nkonyeni. She would not say whether Blaylock was facing further sanctions, saying institutional managers are responsible for that.

Nkonyeni said she has no personal vendetta against Blaylock, but said some actions should not go unpunished.

On the lifting of the suspension, she said the department might be setting a wrong precedent, which could mean it will not be able to discipline any doctors in the future.

The Inkatha Freedom Party and Democratic Alliance welcomed the decision to lift Blaylock’s suspension.

“It is unfortunate that lives had to be endangered because of the MEC’s fragile ego,” said DA MPL Margaret Ambler-Moore.

Jabulani Maphalala, of the National Democratic Convention, felt that the suspension should not have been lifted. “We cannot protect racists just because we say they are experts … We are going back to the apartheid era,” Maphalala said.

Addressing the legislature, Nkonyeni said she has been made to look bad by the media over the picture incident and has received abusive e-mails from doctors around the province. One e-mail is said to have told her to go back to teaching and lambasted her for her “lack of grey matter”.

Attempts to get comment from Blaylock were unsuccessful last night.

He said due to departmental protocol he was unable to comment.

The Rural Doctors’ Association of Southern Africa, of which he is a member, could not be reached last night.

bmbanjwa@witness.co.za

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