Dad to sue doctor who 'killed' his daughter during skin graft surgery
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Earlier this month the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) revoked his licence following complaints by patients. The Potchefstroom-based doctor was found guilty of the deaths of three patients, including a one-year-old girl, Mbali Matlo (Baby Mbali), on whom Sello performed a skin graft.
He is still to appeal the decision of the committee.
Although pleased with the HPCSA outcome, the families felt that justice still needed to be served because the judgement was not from a court of law.
Baby Mbali’s father, Ntsikelelo Mthuzula, said he was planning to take the case further. “I am taking this to the next level, I am not letting him go free like that. I am going to sue him. He killed my daughter; my heart is still very painful,” said Mthuzula.
It remains unclear whether a criminal case will be pursued by any of the families or patients that Sello left with injuries.
HPCSA spokesperson Priscilla Sekhonyana explained: “Insofar as cases that are investigated by the police, the courts or the laws of South Africa are concerned, the HPCSA does not have jurisdiction over such matters. The complaints which are lodged with the HPCSA are those that involve unethical conduct or unprofessional conduct of practitioners registered with the HPCSA. Those that are with the courts are those that involve criminal conduct on the part of individual citizens.”
At his final hearing, Sello’s wife disclosed to the HPCSA committee that her husband had once been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. The organisation said it had not been aware of this at the time of his admission.
According to the HPCSA’s guidelines for good practice in the health-care professions, students, interns and practitioners are obliged to report their own “impairment” or that of others to the council’s board if “they’re convinced that such student, intern or practitioner is impaired”.
The guidelines define impairment as “a mental or physical condition which affects the competence, attitude, judgement or performance of professional acts by a registered practitioner”.
Sello’s wife confirmed to the committee that she was aware her husband had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. “I played a role because I was the one who forced him to seek help. I took him forcefully to the hospital,” she said.
She realised had that he was “psychologically not fine” and he had been transferred from a general hospital to a psychiatric facility. But he had continued working after he was discharged.
She told the committee they weren’t aware they were supposed to report his condition or the fact that he had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
Sello’s lawyer, Raphepheng Mataka, said he could not comment on whether they would appeal or not, as they had not received the full judgment from the HPCSA.