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06 March 2015

Doctor accused of stealing body parts returns to work

A doctor who was suspended on accusations of trying to walk out of a mortuary with a brain and a heart is back at work.

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Cape Town - A doctor, who has been on suspension for the past 16 months, following accusations of trying to steal human organs at Diepkloof government mortuary in Soweto, has returned to work.

The doctor was suspended in November 2014 after he was accused of trying to walk out with a bucket allegedly containing the brains and heart of a dead woman.

Read: Surgeon walks out on patient, not once but twice

The Gauteng Department of Health said the doctor was suspended pending finalisation of disciplinary processes, however, he approached the courts to interdict the department.

He was allowed to return to work because he was successful in pushing for a pre-disciplinary arbitration.

“The department will continue with disciplinary hearings from 20 - 22 April,” it said.

Wrong decision

DA Gauteng Health spokesperson Jack Bloom said in a statement on Thursday the doctor should not have been allowed to return to the mortuary unless he was found innocent.

"Desecrating the dead is a very serious matter", Bloom said.

He also accused the department of dragging its feet in the disciplinary case. "I am outraged that the department has taken so long with this sensitive case."

Bloom said the doctor received more than R1 million while being suspended on full pay for 16 months.

Call for more measures

"This case must be speeded up and extra controls put in to prevent the stealing of body parts from state mortuaries."

He also claimed that doctors and other staff were so appalled by the doctor's return on Monday that stopped work and releasing bodies to family members.

The department, however, dismissed this saying that staff was only surprised to see their supervisor back at work.

Also read:

Not enough doctors at Baragwanath hospital puts lives at risk

HPCSA says many emergency care certificates are fraudulent

Doubt over reported drop in SA's life expectancy

 
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