ARV medico takes government to court over dismissal

A Mpumalanga doctor is taking the provincial health department to court for dismissing him over his involvement in a clinic which provided rape victims with antiretroviral treatment (ARVs).

A Mpumalanga doctor is taking the provincial health department to court for dismissing him over his involvement in a clinic which provided rape victims with antiretroviral treatment (ARVs).

Dr Malcolm Naude's case of unfair dismissal will be heard by the Braamfontein labour court today, his lawyer Dan Pretorius said.

Pretorius said Naude, who was a medical officer at Nelspruit's Rob Ferreira Hospital in 2001, believed he had been discriminated against for acting "in accordance with his conscience and medical best practice in treating rape survivors".

The lawyer said Nelspruit hospital staff, police and the Greater Nelspruit Rape Intervention Project (Grip) became involved in running a rape crisis centre in 2000.

Grip funded prescriptions for ARVs, despite the opposition of the health department which had instructed state hospital doctors not to prescribe the drugs.

"Dr Naude and other doctors at the hospital took the view that this was an unwarranted interference in the exercise of their professional judgment and discretion in making clinical and ethical decisions in the care and treatment of patients," said Pretorius.

"They continued to prescribe antiretrovirals where this was required."

Pretorius said the department evicted Grip from its care-rooms at the hospital in February 2001.

Grip opposed the move in court, supported by an affidavit by Naude.

It was after this that Naude's services were terminated. - Sapa

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