Kidneygate: ‘selective prosecution’

2012-09-03 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Netcare doctors charged with illegally harvesting kidneys from more than 90 impoverished Brazilian donors without performing proper medical and psychological “work-ups” were referred to the Durban high court, City Press reported yesterday.

This and other new allegations against the last six accused in the marathon “kidneygate” case are contained in documents submitted to the Durban high court. The state is opposing two applications for a permanent stay of prosecution. The kidneys were allegedly harvested between 2001 and 2003 without performing proper medical and psychological tests.

An internal audit of the overseas transplant programme showed only 10 of 104 foreign donors in Durban had medical evaluation reports. Only two donors had psychological evaluation reports. None had submitted required letters of acceptance, the weekly reported.

Surgeons John Robbs, Ariff Haffejee, Neil Christopher, and Mahadev Naidoo, who performed the transplants at St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban, have claimed malicious and selective prosecution.

They say doctors who performed illegal transplants for the Netcare hospital group in Cape Town and Johannesburg have not yet been charged. Former transplant unit staffers Lindy Dickson and Melanie Azor made the same claims in a separate application, according to the City Press report.

They also argue that it was Netcare — which paid a R7 million fine after admitting guilt — that set up the scam with Israeli organ broker Ilan Perry and misled transplant teams into believing all was above board.

The prosecution claims all participants in the illegal operation were aware of what was going on.

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