Whistleblower doctor won’t appeal report
Psychiatrist Dr Kiran Sukeri‚ who the health ombud accused of making false claims of illtreatment of patients at the Tower Psychiatric Hospital in the Eastern Cape‚ has decided not to appeal the ombud’s findings against him.
He had gone to the media to blow the whistle on the facility where he was employed as a psychiatrist.
He had described the situation as another Life Esidimeni‚ comparing it to the tragedy which played out in Gauteng where more than 140 mentally ill patients died after being moved from the government facility to some ill-equipped non-government organisations.
After investigating Sukeri’s claims‚ ombud professor Malegapuru Makgoba released a report last month where he alleged that Sukeri had made the false claims following a power struggle with the hospital’s CEO.
Makgoba questioned his professionalism for releasing some crucial information on patients to the media and added that his track record was less than desirable.
Sukeri said he was happy that several changes had been made to the province’s mental healthcare since his complaint.
Among Sukeri’s claims were damning allegations that about 90 patients had died at the Port Elizabeth hospital but when his allegations were probed‚ he said he had miscalculated the death statistics.
Commenting on Sukeri’s allegations‚ which were published in a Sunday newspaper‚ Makgoba said: “Tower Hospital is no ‘Life Esidimeni’.”
Makgoba said during his investigations into the claims‚ Sukeri had admitted that he had “lost his cool” and had approached the media to exaggerate his complaint after having clashed with the CEO of the hospital.
Makgoba has since called for disciplinary action to be taken against Sukeri‚ adding that while he no longer practises at the hospital‚ he continues to run a private practice.
“He has irretrievably broken all his trust with his colleagues‚” Makgoba added.