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Doc facing inquiry over abortion comments ‘desperately’ wants matter resolved

Jacques de Vos's lawyers made it clear that they did not fully comprehend the charges against him as a number of documents relating to the matter were still outstanding.

Attorney Martus de Wet (left) and Dr Jacques De Vos (right) at the Health Professions Council fo South Africa's hearing on 27 August 2019. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A doctor facing charges over comments he made about abortion said he desperately wanted the matter to be resolved.

Doctor Jacques de Vos was barred from practising medicine after the Health Professions Council fo South Africa (HPCSA) brought four charges against him.

In 2016, he made remarks to a patient at 2 Military Hospital about the termination of pregnancies which were deemed controversial.

From the outset, De Vos's lawyers made it clear that they did not fully comprehend the charges against him as a number of documents relating to the matter were still outstanding.

The Health Professions Council of South Africa claimed that De Vos, in December 2016, made himself guilty of unprofessional conduct.

He allegedly failed to honour or neglected to honour and respect the patient's right to self-determination.

Other charges relate to him apparently distributing pamphlets at work, imposing his religious beliefs and values on members of the public, his colleagues and patients in 2015.

His lawyer, Advocate Keith Matthee, said amongst other things, they needed the statement of the complainant.

“If there was an abortion, what method was used to terminate the pregnancy and all those questions relate to expert evidence we would want to lead… but we need to know where we need to bring the expert in.”

Matthee reminded the panel that his client, who suffers from a severe case of deep vein thrombosis, had been out of work for more than two years.

“Why we are here now is because relevant persons in two of the departments refused to sign him off, that's in paediatrics and gynaecology before you had applied your mind to the issue. Since early 2017, Dr De Vos and Mr De Wet (instructing attorney) have at all times bent over backwards to try and facilitate this hearing, because the effect of this hearing not happening is that Dr De Vos cannot practice as a doctor.”

Both parties have agreed that outstanding documents will be made available by this coming Friday.

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