Doctors in sex claims
TWO cases of sexual harassment were opened against Brits Hospital doctors in the past 12 months.
In May this year the mother of a teenage girl complained to the hospital that a doctor had sexually harassed her daughter.
The doctor was suspended for a month but has since returned to work at the hospital. His disciplinary case is still pending.
He is expected to appear in court in January next year.
In another incident reported in September 2011, a doctor, who is known to Sowetan, is alleged to have inserted his fingers into the private parts of a heavily sedated female patient who had gone to the hospital complaining about a headache.
The health department's district office investigating officer' s report has explicit statements from both the doctor and the patient.
According to the patient, the doctor took her to a room and gave an injection which made her drowsy.
The people in the room were ordered to go outside by the doctor who then told the patient to undress for a vaginal examination and sonar.
"The doctor then introduced his fingers into her vagina without any explanation and this went on and on for a while without stopping.
"The complainant was so weak that she could not remove the doctor's fingers from her vagina and he did that until the patient reached orgasm," read the report.
The doctor did not give the patient the results of the examination and instead gave her painkillers. She did not keep her next appointment.
In his defence, the doctor said he suspected that she might have a pelvic inflammation disease and therefore conducted a vaginal examination, and then a sonar, to determine if she was not pregnant.
The doctor said he gave the patient an injection which, according to him, would not make a person drowsy.
He then asked a colleague to apologise to the patient.
The investigator said there were elements of sexual harassment in the case although it was the patient's word against that of the doctor.
"A pregnancy test was not done, and even after sonar which revealed the uterus was empty, the respondent did not care to inform the complainant.
"There was nobody to witness the respondent during sonar and vaginal examination which, in my opinion, is unprocedural," the investigator said.
The officer recommended that disciplinary action be taken against the doctor and that management apologise to the complainant.
The officer also ordered that a final warning letter to be issued against the clinical manager, who failed to address the case.
The doctor has since resigned from the hospital.
North West health department spokesman Tebogo Lekgethwane said last year's case was reported to the Health Professions Council of SA, which had not responded to date.
In the more recent case, the accused doctor was found guilty in a departmental disciplinary process.
"He has appealed the sanction and the matter was referred to the provincial office. The doctor was recalled to resume duty instead of continuing to earn a salary while on suspension."
He said the matter was also reported to the HPCSA and to the police.
This article was first published in the printed newspaper on 22 October 2012