WE would like to express our disappointment, shock and disgust at your article entitled "Shock death of well-known Port Elizabeth doctor's wife" (August 22).
As members of the public we keep abreast by reading your paper, thus we accept that our press is accurate and unbiased. Do we accept that as we are accountable, there is institutional accountability that your profession adheres to?
It seems unlikely, considering the abuse of your paper towards the medical profession.
Again, after reading this report, we have a distinct lack of trust in our local journalism. If the article was this misleading, how many other times have we been deceived?
The article makes no mention of the fact that Gail van Heerden was terminally ill and sadly was nearing the end of her life expectancy. As for the circumstances surrounding her death, we feel no one has the right to judge her actions.
Only someone living with breast cancer will fully understand the suffering experienced.
The article dredges up the past court case where Dr Marcus van Heerden was acquitted of any wrongdoing. This leads people, who might be unfamiliar with all the facts, to believe that Gail van Heerden's death might somehow be related to this court case.
The fact that the Van Heerdens had put the entire court case behind them and were focusing on Mrs Van Heerden's illness was not mentioned. Dr Van Heerden never hid the fact that his wife was terminally ill and kept us all informed of her progress. It was therefore common knowledge and not a secret.
We feel that the sad loss of a loving family member of our colleague was lessened in order to sensationalise an article.
As doctors we are strictly kept accountable by governing institutions and feel that the reporter, Gareth Wilson, should be held accountable for his actions. As the journalist, he is solely responsible for this news article and it would seem that he has purposely omitted information from this article in an effort to sensationalise his story.
As a profession we serve this society with full accountability and do this graciously. However the contrary is evident from yours.
We as a profession are concerned about the biased abuse of your newspaper towards all aspects of our profession, and want to make it clear that we are able and willing to blacklist individuals in your profession who pursue sensational reporting.
The least expected from you is that you publish this letter in full on the front page of your forthcoming addition, including an apology to the Van Heerden family, to avoid us from pursuing this option.
We reserve our rights
The medical profession (representative name supplied), Port Elizabeth