Doctors in court over child’s death

Hillbrow – Paediatric surgeon Professor Peter Beale and anaesthetist Dr Abdulhay Munshi, who are accused of culpable homicide, handed themselves over to Hillbrow police and appeared at the Johannesburg magistrate’s court on Tuesday morning.

  Warrants of arrest for them were issued a week ago; stating that they are charged with culpable homicide relating to the death of Zayyaan Sayed. The child died in October at Netcare’s Park Lane Clinic, hours after Beale performed what was meant to be a routine laparoscopic operation to stop reflux.

  Professor Beale and Dr Munshi were each granted bail of R10 000, and the matter was postponed to March 31 2020.

  Members of the child’s family and lawyers attended the session at the court.

  The SA Society of Anaesthesiologists (Sasa) has questioned the action against Munshi, one of its members.

  “As far as we are aware, there has never before been a warrant of arrest issued for a health care practitioner in a criminal matter involving medical negligence allegations or culpable homicide. In those instances where it was deemed necessary to institute criminal proceedings against health care practitioners, their attendance at court has been secured by warning or summons.”

  Sasa CEO Natalie Zimmelman said any loss of life is tragic, and even more so when a child dies. “Everyone affected by this death has Sasa’s deep sympathy and empathy. The family, public and the professions want to determine exactly how this tragedy occurred. To do so demands transparent, exhaustive and fair investigation that will give us the facts and enable us to do everything possible to prevent something similar happening again. This process is mandated to be undertaken and conducted by regulatory hearings by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). As far as Sasa is aware this process is well under way.”

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