‘Dr Death’ approaches High Court to halt sentence proceedings

It's emerged the hearing's chair is a member of an organisation calling for him to be removed from the roll.

FILE: South African former apartheid regime Chemical and Biological warfare expert, dubbed "Dr. death", Dr. Wouter Basson gives a press conference and a radio intervew, 13 September 2005. Picture: AFP

PRETORIA - Former chemical and biological weapons expert Wouter Basson says he will approach the High Court in Pretoria to halt sentence proceedings at the Health Professions Council of South Africa.

Last year, the council found that Basson's breach of medical ethics during a chemical warfare programme in the 1980s made him guilty of unprofessional conduct.

Basson is approaching the court after it emerged the chairperson of the hearing is a member of an organisation calling for the doctor to be removed from the roll.

His advocate, Jaap Cilliers, has questioned the disciplinary board's chairman Jannie Hugo about his membership of an organisation calling for his client's suspension.

"It appears from what you have already said that you're indeed a member of at least one of the organisations who have put evidence before you, that you are a member of agitating for the removal of Doctor Basson."

The cardiologist may bring an application for Hugo to recuse himself.

At the same time, a medical ethics expert says it's won't suffice that Basson may be a good cardiologist, his unethical conduct is sufficient to warrant him being struck from the roll.

Bioethicist professor, Doctor Marc Blockman, says ethics are integral to the medical profession.

"We both have two obligations, one is to do our job well and the other is to morally uphold the ethical considerations. They go hand in hand, you can't do one well and the other not well at all and expect that to balance out."