Lawyer challenges facts from health council in doctor’s abortion case
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Cape Ton - A lawyer has cast doubt on the veracity of the facts brought by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) in a case against Jacques de Vos, a former Military Hospital doctor, charged with advising that abortion is the killing of an unborn human being.
The lawyer, Martus de Wet, added a new twist to the long-running saga when he said that a delay by the HPCSA in providing the information needed for De Vos’s defence made it impossible for his lawyers to prepare for the hearing set to begin on October 28.
De Wet said: “As of today, October 12, the said information has not been given to De Vos. This information includes basic things, for example, the original letters of complaint against De Vos, which are required by law before any disciplinary process can be initiated against a doctor.
“The only reasonable explanation for this failure by the HPCSA is that there never were such letters of complaint, nor was there ever such a statement,” said De Wet.
The lawyer blamed “certain doctors at 2 Military Hospital and the HPCSA”, and said the result of the delay since April 2017 in hearing the matter meant that their client had been “suspended from practising as a doctor for in excess of two years. He thus has been severely punished, and continues to be punished, without any hearing or explanation.”
De Wet said: “In April 2017, De Vos was prematurely removed from the gynaecology and obstetrics rotation at 2 Military Hospital, Wynberg.
“He was given no hearing by the concerned doctors. He was transferred to casualty until the completion of his two-and-a-half-year internship. This is usually two years, but as a result of his disability he was allowed more time.”
The lawyer said De Vos informed the HPCSA of his situation in May2017 and asked 2 Military Hospital if he could complete the remaining time in the gynaecology department, as it would still be necessary for the successful completion of his internship.
The hospital authorities refused this request and the matter was handed over to the HPCSA.
“After countless letters from his attorneys, the HPCSA eventually decided to charge De Vos.”
The new date for the hearing was set for October 28.