News24

Basson conduct unethical, expert maintains

2011-09-28 20:34

Pretoria - An American medical ethics expert maintained on Wednesday that Dr Wouter Basson's conduct as head of South Africa's chemical and biological warfare programme was unethical.

This was despite the fact that portions of his opinion were deleted after a ruling by a professional conduct committee of the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA).

The council concluded that expert witness Steven Miles could only rely on selected portions of Basson's evidence during his criminal trial, which ended in April 2002, and nothing more.

The ruling followed a short but fierce legal battle between Basson's advocate Jaap Cilliers SC, and the pro forma complainant Salie Joubert SC.

Cilliers complained Miles' opinion was based on extracts from the criminal trial which should never have been presented to him.

He said it had been agreed before Basson's misconduct hearing commenced in 2007 that the complainant would only be able to rely on selected portions of Basson's evidence, which did not include some of the extracts on which Miles based his opinion.

Cilliers pointed out that Miles had only been presented with about 5% of Basson's total evidence in his criminal trial.

Basson was acquitted on 46 charges, ranging from murder to drug dealing and fraud, more than nine years ago.

The record of some of his evidence however now forms part of four charges of unprofessional conduct, to which Basson has pleaded not guilty.

The charges include that he had acted unprofessionally by co-ordinating the large scale production of drugs such as Mandrax and tear gases; weaponising mortar bombs with tear gas; providing disorientation substances for cross-border kidnappings and providing operatives with cyanide capsules for suicidal use.

Cilliers put it to Miles that Basson would vehemently deny ever providing anyone with the drug scoline (used to paralyse the muscles of the chest and abdomen of persons on respirators during surgery) for "grab operations".

He said there was no factual basis for Miles' conclusion in this regard.

Miles conceded the evidence about scoline was "somewhat ambiguous", but said even if one deleted that material, it was still unethical for a physician to provide a PCP drug for grab operations.

Cilliers confronted Miles with his conclusion that Basson acted unethically with teargas-carrying mortar bombs, by risking injuring civilians with the gas and shrapnel.

He said projectiles used by the SA Defence Force did not produce shrapnel, but used a canister that dispersed smoke.

Miles said there was still a risk of falling debris from these mortars posing a risk to civilians. He said it would be irrelevant to a survivor if he was hit in the head by shrapnel or a metal container.

Cilliers said even if the whole canister was dropped on one's head, it would not have caused damage.

Asked if the laws and perceptions of a particular country influenced views on medical ethics, Miles said he had specifically chosen World Medical Association standards and two international protocols to which South Africa subscribed at the time to evaluate Basson's ethical conduct.

"Time may have an effect on standards, but I only relied on standards which were in effect at the relevant period," he said.

The hearing continues.

Comments
  • farmworker - 2011-09-28 20:48

    Every Dog has its day and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

      sc? - 2011-09-28 21:26

      @agwambo - like we say in Afrikaans - jy het die kat aan die gat beet!

      Phlegm - 2011-09-28 21:36

      Agwambo - it is not about him being "put away" it is a question of whether or not he is fit to practice as a medical doctor. You mention McBride, he bombed a bar and killed innocent people, he too was given a second chance in the name of reconciliation, how is what Basson did any worse than what McBride did? At least Basson has skills that are in short supply in this country, what skills does McBride have?

      BakkieB - 2011-09-28 21:43

      @Phlegm.100%. It has nothing to do with his work on chemical warfare but is he a good doctor. Tax payer money being pissed against a wall again, just to make a certain section of the politburo happy. He was cleared by th TRC and still they carry on.

      proudandpink - 2011-09-28 23:43

      There is an upside if he's not allowed to practice medicine anymore. If there is one person who could find a cure for AIDS it's Basson.

      ahpretorius - 2011-09-29 02:54

      So far it is only the HPCSa and Miles who have been PROVEN to have acted unethically by giving Miles access to information he should not have had access to. They have just sealed the case, congatulations Dr Basson. Miles' statements seems extremely ill informed, I hope they ask him to provide an overview of the US' use of much more aggresive substances. For example rounds with depleted uranium!

      Agwambo - 2011-09-29 08:47

      The fact that you guys have been allowed to reply to my post which the editor has deleted, speaks volumes of the mindset of News24 editors. I was not racist, I was speaking fact. Had Basson killed whites there would be a huge furore now

  • Ian - 2011-09-28 20:48

    watch this yank suddenly dissapear

      farmworker - 2011-09-28 20:59

      That would be the day, I would drink to that

      Ian - 2011-09-28 21:06

      probally will, the dumb yank has no idea what he is screwing with, witnesses have vanished for less

  • vegetarian - 2011-09-28 21:01

    Devil incarnate

  • Georgp2 - 2011-09-28 21:07

    He is Miles away from this Maybe he bring his kids and wife or buy a farm here. Like to see him survive. What is his interest in this anyway. Mc Goose Bar he must visit it and get a toast. Visit Church street. Try a little a cup of fertilser to get a feel for what a farm murder feels like. Funny farmworkers browse the net watch DTSV

  • Georgp2 - 2011-09-28 21:14

    Miles if you eat more burgers it is probably worst for you. Then I prefer a can of those than a yankee missile going wrong like Miles of the target (oops) whats the difference.

  • Vela Stardust - 2011-09-28 21:15

    In 2002 Basson was acquitted on all 67 charges. Why are people still harping on this? Time to move on! McBride blew innocent people up in a bar and walked free. We should be more concerned about the future right now and stop nit picking about a bad past.

      katvis - 2011-09-28 21:47

      McBride is slowly but surerely getting what he deserves

  • Rastus - 2011-09-28 21:39

    The Doc did what he had to do - stuff the yanks, they never finished anything but always wanted the finest pickings - the son of a sea faring cockroaches. Look at the half finished cacti they left everyone else to sort out.

  • katvis - 2011-09-28 21:42

    What has a US expert got to do with this? They cant even solve their own problems

  • CTatheist - 2011-09-28 21:45

    Witch hunt Witch hunt Witch hunt. The man was acquitted in 2002, whats wrong with ya all??

  • BakkieB - 2011-09-28 21:48

    Amazing coming from a Doctor whos government has the biggest stockpile of chemical wepons in the world. Tell me "Dr Ethical" how does the American government test their weapons?

  • crackerr - 2011-09-28 21:56

    Look at the link below. www.netcomuk.co.uk/~springbk/enemy.htmlCached - Similar You +1'd this publicly. Undo 16 Aug 2011 – The ANC has admitted that torture and "staggering brutality" were ... were at the Quatro camp in Angola , where guards and medical assistants ... So I don't know. Maybe we need an ethics check of all politicians and political appointments. More links available for those interested. Just Google. Once again: God, thanks for current technology and of course Google. But please, do exercise a bit more discretion with the likes of a certain commentator called vegetarian who lacks the natural ability to detect the difference between common sense and nonsense. I mean, really, to confuse the Devil who was at Quatro with Basson while Basson was here in South Africa doesn't make much sense.

  • Rita - 2011-09-28 22:02

    Let's talk about the CIA's dirty tricks a little.

      Vela Stardust - 2011-09-28 22:17

      Exactly! Every country has it's top scientists working on warfare products. Makes one wonder why they are so interested in Basson.

  • Klaas - 2011-09-28 22:17

    War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. John Stuart Mill English economist & philosopher (1806 - 1873) The Code of the Soldier (including medical occupations)can never be the same as the code of civillians, according to Sir John Hackett, Soldiers have an unlimted liability under which they operate and are fully monopolised by politicians.

  • JohnPicarra - 2011-09-28 23:19

    “ The Gang of Four Chinese Communist Party members came to power during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), and were charged with a series of treasonous crimes. The gang consisted of Jiang Qing, Mao Zedong's last wife as the leading figure of the group, and her close associates Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen. In 1980, the trials of the Gang of Four began. Among the prosecution’s charge of actual crimes were the usurpation of state power and party leadership; the persecution of some 750,000 people, 34,375 of whom died during the period 1966-76. It was at this trial that Jiang Qing made the famous quote: "I was Chairman Mao's dog. I bit whomever he asked me to bite." Jiang Qing was sentenced to death in 1981. “ Source Wikipidia. I was inspired to write a song commemorating the death of such evil people: Shoot the dogs, Shoot the dogs, Shoot the dogs of Mao Tse Tsung! Auss! Auss, Auss! Auss! Auss Auss! Shoot the dogs, Shoot the dogs, Shoot the dogs of Jiang Qing! Auss! Auss, Auss! Auss! Auss Auss! Shoot the dogs, Shoot the dogs, Shoot the dogs Gang of Four! Auss! Auss, Auss! Auss! Auss Auss!

  • Foxie911 - 2011-09-28 23:57

    And of course, a deathly silence about the exceedingly cruel and inhuman 'necklacings' to torture kill anti-ANC dissidents during the so-called 'struggle' years, and the one person that encouraged this, namely Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, is being maintained. Aforesaid Winnie was also behind the murder of teenager Stompie Sepei, among others, but instead of serving her time behind bars, is still flaunting herself in public alongside that other piece of NAC-rubbish, Julius Malema who encourages people to shoot (and kill) the Boers. But then, filth like the ANC members get away with murder but try to discredit someone like Basson who was aquitted on virtually all charges previously... And this is called ;justice?"

  • Alice - 2011-09-29 01:02

    Its just all technicalities. He made an oath when he became a doctor, and he did not honor that oath! simple

      Goddok - 2011-09-29 04:52

      Alice, do you know what the oath entails? If so what part did he contravene?

  • Henk van Tonder - 2011-09-29 08:22

    I know Dr Wouter Basson as a great physician. He is one of SA's top cardiologists. When my brother suffered a heart attack 8 years ago other cardiologists gave him 2 years to live. He ended up at Dr Basson's practice in the Panorama Medi Clinic in Cape Town and was saved and had his live extended to today. My brother is healthy and living a great life today, thanks to the expert treatment by Dr Basson. Dr. Basson has treated thousands of patients and saved just as many since those days. On meeting him, he is a great guy, who is jovial, has a great sense of humour and genuinely cares for his patients. From what I read, there inst any evidence of any single death as a result of the tasks he was ordered to do for his country back in different times and circumstances. Let the man continue to heal the sick.

  • Badballie - 2011-09-29 10:26

    American experts......??? please the US is guilty of more human rights abuses than even Hitler was. The Us has active biological and nuclear bomb programs currently run by doctors who would never be tried under these circumstances. Obviously a revenge plot which simply highlights the medical fraternity as another organisation with blatant double standards.

  • o--o - 2011-09-29 14:30

    What the hell is wrong with you people? The Hippocratic Oath is taken as a promise to protect human life. When a doctor has been instrumental in the development of mechanisms to injure or kill other human beings, how can you even suggest that he has the slightest respect for the health and wellbeing of his fellow man? I swear this system should force you to pass an IQ test before being allowed to post.

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