South African doctor charged with blatantly violating medical ethics

February 18, 2012


A South African cardiologist, Wouter Basson, is facing charges of violating medical ethics for running the Apartheid government’s chemical and biological warfare programme. He was interviewed recently after a Health Professions Council Disciplinary hearing, claiming that the hearing is politicallty motivated.

Among others, Basson is accused of producing drugs and tear-gases on a major scale, weaponising mortars with teargas, and providing disorientation substances for kidnapping exercises. By manufacturing these chemicals, advocate Salie Joubert said, Basson was “clearly in contravention of the ethical rules applicable to a medical practitioner”. However, the doctor has always maintained he has done nothing wrong, acting only on instruction as a soldier. He now runs a private medical practice in Cape Town.

“This was a hell of a long time ago”

Recently, Basson told The Sunday Independent: “If you look at the so called transgressions, it has nothing to do with medicine. This was a hell of a long time ago. Nobody remembers, and I’m not sure that anybody cares.” 

Leslie London, Head of the Health and Human Rights Division in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine of the University of Cape Town, is calling upon people who do not agree with Mr. Basson’s position to record a comment at the following webpage:

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