'Bogus gynae’s’ suspension hearing halted as HPCSA processes are questioned
Cape Town - Lawyers representing controversial doctor Ganesh Anil Ramdhin, accused of masquerading as a gynaecologist, poked holes in the health authority’s case and alleged that officials had bungled the process.
Now the complainant’s family and friends fear they may not see justice and Ramdhin, who has repeatedly appeared before the Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA), could continue to practise.
A Carte Blanche investigation revealed how Ramdhin, a general practitioner, masqueraded as a gynaecologist and allegedly duped and misdiagnosed patients. He has faced more than 300 counts of fraud relating to medical schemes and the government’s compensation fund. He was found guilty of professional misconduct and suspended from the HPCSA register three times.
Now, he claims to be a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists – despite being struck off the UK Medical Register 15 years ago for serious professional misconduct – and practises in Cape Town.
Yesterday, the precautionary suspension hearing before an ad hoc committee set up by the council was halted and the matter referred back to the HPCSA for a way forward.
Jerry Mayaba, who represents Ramdhin, questioned procedures that led to his client being hauled before the committee to face possible suspension of his licence.
Ramdhin is no stranger to disciplinary proceedings before the council having faced more than 300 charges relating to alleged defrauding of medical schemes more than eight years ago when he operated under a different name.
In his latest run-in with the council, Ramdhin reportedly faces allegations of “practising beyond the scope of profession”.
Spokesperson for the council, Priscilla Sekhonyana, had earlier confirmed that the complaint related to a patient, Zoleka Helesi, who was diagnosed with cancer of the womb by Ramdhin and was taken to theatre for a total hysterectomy.
Sekhonyana said: “Dr Ganesh Anil Ramdhin was formerly known as Dr Ganesh Anil Anirudhra. The complaint is the patient was diagnosed with cancer of the womb by respondent and went to the theatre for a total hysterectomy. Inquiry is based on contravention of Ethical Rule 21 (a), (Performance of Professional Acts), which states that a professional shall perform except in an emergency, only a professional act – for which he or she is adequately educated, trained and sufficiently experienced.”
Helesi, a performer at the Baxter Theatre, died in December.
Friends and colleagues have been diligently attending the proceedings to show support to her family and demand justice be served. However, their quest for answers may take a little longer after arguments presented by Mayaba halted proceedings.
Mayaba listed each procedural issue he said the council’s board chairperson and registrar failed to take into account before forming the committee.
Mayaba alleged that the HPCSA bowed to media pressure to take action after waiting several months without acting on the complaint filed in July.
He said his client was served one day short of the required 15-day notice to appear before the committee which flouted regulations.
He even argued that there was no paper trail that allowed the HPCSA’s Kgolane Magabane to act as evidence leader which was also flawed.
“The complaint by the complainant is dated, July 7, 2020 and was sent to the registrar by July 9 and the regulations state that the registrar should within three days ask the complainent to address details of the complaint in writing but the affidavit from the complainant is dated February 8,” he said.
“The registrar does virtually nothing and time passed until November when Carte Blanche comes knocking and then to save face the registrar appears and says they will institute steps.
“Our submission is that it is irregular, unfair and goes against the grain of fair administration of justice. It paints a picture of an institution that has no regard for its own regulation.
“We have proved that the registrar filed to meet the procedures in bringing the accused here, hence the argument that you are not properly appointed and have no jurisdiction.”
Magabane argued that his appointment as a pro forma complainant is not based on a case-by-case matter and insisted it followed processes.
“My submission is the notice went out and it was within the time frames. All that the chairperson failed to do was to consult with regard to date and the time for the serving of the notice,” he said.
“But if you consider the seriousness of this case, it is not clear what prejudice the accused person may have suffered but we are saying if we compare the prejudice allegedly suffered by the accused versus the rights of the public to be protected against the conduct that is harmful to the community at large, which one weighs more than the other.”