HPCSA to determine the 'magnitude' of claims against paediatric surgeon Dr Peter Beale

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Medical professionals (Getty Images)
Medical professionals (Getty Images)

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has launched an investigation into paediatric surgeon, Dr Peter Beale, who has been accused of medical negligence by several families.

The HPCSA's investigation concerns allegations made by these families to determine the magnitude of the case.

It will also investigate those who assisted in operations with Beale.

Many families have come forward to tell their story of how their children died or were left with impediments after undergoing surgery with Beale.

Most recently, 10-year-old Zayyaan Sayed passed away after a routine operation with Beale at Netcare Park Lane Clinic in Johannesburg last month.

'Magnitude of the case'

Zayyaan's lung collapsed post-operation and he died shortly afterward.

More families have since approached News24 to give their accounts of what happened to their children.

Speaking to News24, HPCSA spokesperson, Priscilla Sekhonyana, said: "The primary aim is not to suspend the practitioner but to ascertain the magnitude of the cases, this will then inform the direction to be considered."

She added: "It is important to note that there are three main practitioners in the operation of the patient: the surgeon; the anaesthetist and the theatre nurse.

"Therefore, if the information is available to the HPCSA and it directs toward precautionary suspension on the part of the surgeon or the anaesthetist, then suspension regulations will be invoked."

Sekhonyana explained that the council had already approached some families who have accused Beale of wrongdoing.

Sekhonyana said the council had been in communication with the Sayed family and decided "to invoke Chapter 4 which allows for it to institute the investigation where it is of the view that an act of misconduct is suspected".

She added: "On the part of other parties, the HPCSA has contacted some family members mentioned in the list and the hospitals where the practitioner was operating for information."

The medical has since become political with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) weighing in on the matter, putting pressure on the HPCSA to suspend Beale.

Stern warning

In a letter to the HPCSA written by EFF secretary general Godrich Gardee, which News24 has seen, the party sent a stern warning to the council, pressuring them to suspend Beale pending an investigation into his fitness to practice.

Gardee listed the names of six children who allegedly died under Beale's knife, saying it was "disturbing" that the HPCSA had not yet suspended him.

Sekhonyana said the EFF had supplied them with information regarding the case.

"The HPCSA believes that the EFF as a public representative did their part in supplementing complaints already received. The EFF has provided the HPCSA with contacts, some of which the HPCSA already has," Sekhonyana said.

The Sayed family have also started criminal proceedings against Dr Beale as well as the anaesthetist involved in their son's surgery, Abdulhay Munshi.

Both doctors have been suspended from Netcare facilities while the Life Healthcare group decided to suspend Beale's administrative privileges.

Beale's attorney, Jeanne Albertse, told News24 that neither she nor Beale had been notified about these proceedings.

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