HPCSA: Basson cannot escape responsibility

The cardiologist, dubbed ‘Doctor Death’, was found guilty of professional misconduct.

Former apartheid regime chemical and biological warfare expert Dr Wouter Basson. Picture:AFP.

PRETORIA - The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) on Wednesday dismissed all of Wouter Basson's defences when finding him guilty of professional misconduct.

The council delivered its ruling in Pretoria on Wednesday.

The HPCSA found Basson offended numerous medical ethical codes.

The cardiologist, dubbed 'Doctor Death', was involved in the establishment of a chemical weapons production facility, weaponised mortars and manufactured substances to be used in combat and kidnapping missions.

He did this in the 1980s.

HSPCA professional conduct committee chairperson Jannie Hugo said Basson cannot escape liability for his conduct.

He also rejected claims Basson was acting as a soldier and not a doctor.

"If a doctor decides to use his medical knowledge and skills for actions contrary to medical ethics for example, in the role of a soldier, then he should deregister from the council," Hugo said.

The chairperson further dismissed Basson's argument that he was merely following instructions.

"The medical doctor is responsible as an individual for his and her actions. Medical ethics require the independence of thinking."

Hugo relied on the testimony of ethics specialist Professor Steven Miles to reach the conclusion.

He said it was not true that Miles was biased and unfair, saying his testimony was supported by pure logic.

Basson will be sentenced in February.