Court upholds Durban doctor’s suspension

2012-06-08 00:00

A DURBAN anaesthetist has failed in his bid to return to work after the high court in Durban upheld his suspension for medical misconduct.

Dr Leon Rheeder made an urgent application on Tuesday to set aside a sanction by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), which fined him R50 000 and barred him immediately from practising for an effective three months.

Rheeder was found guilty at a HPCSA disciplinary hearing on May 14 after admitting to negligence in that he failed to monitor a patient, Ian Fordyce, for the duration of a procedure.

Fordyce died about seven weeks after undergoing cataract surgery on his right eye at Life Crompton Hospital in Pinetown on February 1, 2010, having slipped into a coma in the operating theatre while Rheeder was relieving himself in the toilet.

Rheeder has denied causing Fordyce’s death and is appealing his sentence with the HPCSA.

He brought the application on an urgent basis, arguing the appeal might take the three months that he is on suspension, meaning any success on his part would become academic.

In a second leg to the application, he wants the court to set aside section 42(1A) of the Health Professions Act, which Rheeder claims is unconstitutional because it allegedly prohibits him from using the courts as a remedy.

The application was opposed by the Medical and Dental Professions Board and HPCSA.

Yesterday, Judge Piet Koen dismissed the first part of the application, in which Rheeder asked for an interim order setting aside his suspension, pending his appeal.

Koen adjourned the constitutional challenge aspect of the matter, without specifying a return date.

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