doc said shaik was too sick for prison

Jeremy Gordin

Jeremy Gordin

The storm surrounding the release of Schabir Shaik has now blown in a strange direction.

It has emerged that the same doctor who reportedly told newspapers that Shaik was healthy four months before he was granted parole, indicated in September last year that the businessman should be sent home.

Dr DP Naidoo, the head of heart ailments at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli hospital, wrote to a prison official saying Shaik's health could not be fixed. "Shaik should be considered for medical parole," his letter said.

Dr Naidoo allegedly told the Sunday Times at the weekend that he had discharged Shaik four months ago because he was "considered well enough to leave the hospital".

The letter was on the letterhead of the hospital and Naidoo signed it himself as Chief Specialist/Head, Department of Cardiology, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. It is co-signed by Dr S Khan, Principal Specialist in Cardiology.

Naidoo's letter was directed to a Mr Marais - head of Medium B, Westville Correctional Services.

It said that Shaik had first been examined in April 2007.

"At the time, Shaik was on thirteen different medicines, eight of which were for the control of [his] hypertension (high blood pressure)," Naidoo wrote.

Naidoo also wrote damage to kidneys, heart, brain, and eyes were reported to him and had again been confirmed.

He said it had been impossible to control Shaik's blood pressure. "During hospitalization," Naidoo wrote, "his blood pressure has been strictly monitored," but "despite our best efforts", Shaik's blood pressure would not react to treatment.

He also wrote that the "severity" of the "end organ damage" was so bad that an eye specialist had said that Shaik's eye damage was of "grade IV severity".

Naidoo said that during Shaik's "most recent admission" to the hospital's intensive care unit in late August 2008, it was found that, if urgent action had not been taken, he might have had a serious heart attack.

He said that Shaik "[remained] at risk for a stroke, heart attack and blindness."

Shaik had been under the care of a psychotherapist "as a final resort to obtain some improvement in blood pressure control".

"We cannot keep him in hospital indefinitely and since the prison authorities are reluctant to manage him at the prison hospital, where conditions are suboptimal, we recommend that he be considered for medical parole."

Schabir, former financial adviser to ANC president Jacob Zuma, was sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2005 for fraud and corruption.

Attempts to reach Dr Naidoo for comment last night were unsuccessful.