Two Steve Biko Academic Hospital surgeons accused of culpable homicide appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
The accused, Professor Letlhagolela Ntlhe and Dr Mpho Sandamela, have been charged in connection with the death of a patient, James Swart, 63, after the two surgeons removed a tumour near his kidneys, Rekord East reported.
The tumour was apparently causing high blood pressure.
Swart reportedly called his wife Lillian at 07:00 saying “I am going in now, I will see you later”. The following day, Swart’s family was given 15 minutes to say their last goodbye to him as he lay unconscious.
Lillian reportedly said her husband was given a computerised axial tomography (CAT) scan after both doctors told him a tumour on one of his adrenal glands was causing his high blood pressure.
Two other experts, a state pathologist and a specialist surgeon, had found that simple urine and blood tests would have shown the existence of a tumour.
Gauteng health spokesperson Steve Mabona said the department was representing the two surgeons in court.
“We are supporting them because from our side, they were only doing their job. We are defending them in court and will await the outcome of the court,” Mabona said.
Prosecutor Tumi Phongole asked Regional Magistrate AC Bekker for a postponement to allow the State time to obtain additional information.
“The State has to respond to further particulars supplied by the defence,” Phongole said.
Health Professionals Council of SA spokesperson Priscilla Sekhonyana said the matter was discussed by a committee at a preliminary inquiry meeting.
“This complaint could, however, not be considered by the committee due to time constraints. It was deferred to the committee’s follow-up meeting wherein all the deferred matters will be considered. The meetings have been scheduled for 11 and 12April,” Sekhonyana said.
Ntlhe and Sandamela are expected to appear again in court on 12 May.
– Caxton News Service