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Row at city hospital over bad handwriting

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‘Doctors were being protected while female employees were being subjected to abuse’.

File image.

A MEDICAL specialist at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital, who apparently has illegible handwriting, has been reported to the Human Rights Commission and the police following an incident where he allegedly called a radiologist a “stupid cow and stupid bitch” in full view of patients and other staff members.

National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) branch chairperson Godfrey Davids stated that the matter would also be reported to the Health Professions Council of South Africa.

“The doctor has never been suspended or faced any disciplinary action. This type of behaviour is unbecoming and his name should be scrapped from the roll of medical professionals. If a doctor treats a colleague in this manner, how does he treat his patients? We have registered a complaint of infringement of human dignity and hate speech at the Human Rights Commission,” said Davids.

He said the alleged incident took place on August 27 after the radiologist had made a note on a patient’s X-ray form requesting the specialist to write clearly, as she was unable to decipher what he had written.

“The doctor became agitated, insulted her, grabbed the patient’s file and then threw it in her face. She is extremely traumatised following the incident and has not been offered any counselling or provided with any emotional support. She also continues to work in the same area as the specialist,” said Davids.

He added that the radiologist was called into the acting CEO’s office on Monday, where she was apparently not allowed any representation from the union.

“I was told to wait outside while she was offered an apology by the doctor and was instructed to withdraw all of the charges. She accepted the apology but will not withdraw the charges.”

Davids stated that doctors were being protected while female employees were being subjected to abuse.

“Management stated that it was an internal matter that should not be known to the public. This is while the radiologist was belittled in the public eye and treated like a second-class citizen. If no action is taken for this misconduct, our members are prepared to embark on a full-blown strike. It appears as if the Department of Health does not have any policies in place to protect women’s rights.”

Davids pointed out that it was a waste of taxpayers money if the radiologist followed incorrect instructions on the X-ray form. “This will lead to the misdiagnosis of the patient and wasteful expenditure.”

The spokesperson for the provincial Department of Health, Lulu Mxekezo, confirmed that an incident of an “alleged exchange of words” had taken place.

“The matter will be investigated. It was also reported that the involved employee has laid a charge with the South African Police Service,” said Mxekezo.

Police spokesperson Captain Sergio Kock confirmed that the police in Kimberley were investigating a case of crimen injuria following the alleged incident.

“The investigation continues,” said Kock.