A PORT Elizabeth doctor was fined R20000 by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) yesterday after he failed to explain the side-effects of a contraceptive pill to a patient.
At the hearing held at the Beach Hotel, the HPCSA heard that Medicross-Westering doctor Karl Muller, 41, had prescribed a six-month course of Yaz to Lynn Robyn Antonio in December 2009.
Muller pleaded guilty to not explaining the serious nature of the birth control pill’s side-effects, failure to complete a physical examination and not asking Antonio about her family history.
He was found guilty on all three charges.
According to a drug information website, Yaz can cause numbness, severe headaches, jaundice, swelling in hands or feet, breast lumps and depression.
Two other doctors from Medicross-Westering, Johan Malherbe and Kobie Oosthuizen, were also defendants during the hearing.
They were both charged with neglecting the management of a patient, failure to refer the patient to a specialist and not appreciating complications caused by Yaz.
However, the council’s disciplinary committee, chaired by Siphiwe Sithole, found Malherbe and Oosthuizen not guilty on all three charges.
Advocate Graham van der Spuy, instructed by attorney Karen Lee, argued in mitigation of sentencing for Muller.
Van der Spuy said Muller did not have a single "blemish” on his medical record.
"He tried to help her but the doctor is prepared to accept responsibility for his actions.”
Antonio, who was 18 years old at the time of the consultation, asked for the medication to help clear acne.
"The young girl looked healthy and Muller did his best to help ... ,” Van der Spuy said.
Advocate Meshack Mapholisa, appearing for the HPCSA, argued that Muller’s actions could have been deadly.
"This is a very serious transgression and should not be treated lightly. The consequences are endless.”
Mapholisa suggested Muller be suspended from practising medicine for three years, which should be wholly suspended for five years.
In handing down sentence, Sithole said: "The committee sees the charge of the doctor’s failure in not explaining the side-effects in a very serious light. In this regard the sentence will be a fine of R20000.”