Top SA surgeon ‘banned from operating’ after child deaths

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A renowned paediatric surgeon has been officially stripped of his license to operate this week, following a decision made by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). Dr. Peter Beale, currently facing upgraded murder charges in the Johannesburg High Court, has been accused of gross medical negligence.

Who is Peter Beale?

The deaths of two children on his operating table – the 10-year-old Zayyan Sayed and the 21-month-old Alissa Strydom – led to a legal investigation, which eventually found its way to the courtroom. Beale is also accused of falsifying the results of an biopsy, in order to save his own bacon.

Strydom’s passing was particularly puzzling, as routine surgery to treat her acid reflux ended in tragic circumstances. A report into the incident revealed that there were concerns about the paediatrician’s attempts to stop the body from haemorrhaging. The tot eventually died from a cardiac arrest.

Surgeon banned from operating over child deaths

Beale has continuously maintained his innocence, claiming he has the support of the medical fraternity. But that’s not the position supported by the HPCSA. On Monday evening, it was confirmed that the Council had removed as a registrar on their databases, meaning his license to operate was now invalid.

The case has now been postponed until January 2023. There will be another 11 months before these families come anywhere near getting the closure they seek – in that time, Beale will remain stricken from HPCSA records.

Surgeon ‘removed from HPSCA lists’

The Council told the Sunday Times Daily that a majority of complaints received have been processed, but wouldn’t share any other details on these reports due to existing confidentiality laws.

“Dr. Beale has been removed from the HPCSA registrar … Beale has been removed based on other previous complaints on which he was found guilty. Reports on these cases are confidential, and cannot be made available to the public.”

“About 29 complaints were received of which 24 are closed. [The] outcomes range from [a] case where the practitioner was found not guilty of unprofessional conduct [to] cases where a penalty of either a caution or fine was imposed.”

HPCSA statement

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