Johannesburg - The Health Professions Council of South Africa has refused to remove a plastic surgeon from its register who wanted to avoid appearing before a hearing by leaving his profession.
Dr Luke Gordon has a string of botched operations behind him and has also paid about R4.5 million to some of his former patients whose operations he ruined.
Four days before he could appear before the HPCSA for his suspension hearing, Gordon informed the council he had no intention of attending the hearing and requested that his name be removed from the register of medical practitioners.
His lawyer had also indicated that Gordon could not be compelled to attend the hearing if he chose not to.
True to his word, neither Gordon nor his attorney attended the hearing held in Melrose, Joburg, on Tuesday.
However, the HPCSA registrar has informed Gordon’s lawyer that his request to be removed from the register cannot be accommodated.
In a letter sent to Gordon’s lawyer, the registrar informed him that if someone wants to be deregistered, they should have no unprofessional conduct nor criminal proceedings pending against them.
“The HPCSA will retain jurisdiction over him until such time that all the complaints against him have been finalised,” the letter stated.
When The Star contacted Gordon’s lawyer, Carl Wesemann, he confirmed that he had received the letter from the registrar.
Despite this, Wesemann said his client would not appear at the hearing.
“I don’t know anything compelling him to be there. He saw the letter and did comment on it. I have also not been told to send a reply.
“I will not be there too as I have not received instruction to be there and I am sure that he will also not be there.”
One of Gordon’s former patients, Tanya Sleigh, 35, was at the hearing. Last year, Sleigh’s fiancé left his job and received his pension money.
Knowing how much Sleigh had wanted to reduce her size G breasts, which were causing her backache and migraines, he offered her two choices: a holiday overseas or smaller breasts.
Gordon quoted R36 000 for the breast reduction, but when he saw Sleigh, he increased this to R51 500, saying she was too big.
The surgery went horribly wrong, and all she could do today when she looked at herself in the mirror, she said, was cry.
Her right breast does not resemble a breast anymore, just a fat lump of skin that has no nipple, with a long, red scar running from top to bottom.
Her left breast is also scarred and has some skin hanging at the back.
Sleigh said June 16 – the day she lost her nipple – would forever be etched in her memory.
The hearing was due to continue on Wednesday.