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HPCSA taken to court over Benoni surgeon

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has been taken to court for allegedly failing to take urgent steps against a Benoni-based plastic and reconstructive surgeon, who is accused of performing substandard work on his patients.

The four applicants, represented by attorney Gary Austin, allege in founding affidavits that they have suffered severe disfigurement and impairment due to Dr Luke Gordon’s mismanagement.

Further, the court papers ask for the HPCSA to “carry out its statutory duties and to comply with its statutory obligations”.

Gordon, who practices at the Metamorphosis Clinic, in Lakefield, has a string of complaints against him.

The application, issued by attorney Gary Austin, consists of the affidavits of four people who allegedly suffered under Gordon’s practices.

These are three women and a man who are “victims of medical malpractices and have had their health, dignity, bodily and psychological integrity impaired or endangered”, as a result of Gordon’s practices.

One of the complainants claims that her breasts are still too big, and that her nipples are pear-shaped and at different heights, following her surgery.

Another patient had to have his leg amputated shortly after receiving bilateral calf implants in surgery performed by Gordon.

Dr Leslie Berkowitz, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who has practiced since 1978, found Gordon’s work to be substandard when examining two of the patients listed in the court papers.

“I found the standard of medical care and surgery performed by Dr Gordon to be substantially substandard when compared to good and acceptable medical practice,” said Berkowitz.

According to the spokesperson for the HPCSA, Bertha Peters-Scheepers, Gordon has had 15 cases against him, dating back to 1995.

These include him using ordinary tap water to inflate a tissue expander which was inserted into a patient’s neck.

Gordon has received bans, suspended sentences, fines and has been involved in civil cases against him and has received further training twice, according to Peters-Sheepers.

”Seven complaints relating to competence, incorrect accounts and sub-standard care served before the Preliminary Committee of Inquiry,” said Peters-Sheepers.

”In six of the matters, the committee accepted his explanation and/or ordered that no further action be taken.

”In one matter, the committee found him guilty and the practitioner paid an admission of guilt fine to the value of R10 000.”

Two cases in Gordon’s practice are currently being investigated by the council.

Peters-Scheepers said the measures taken by the council were adequate for Gordon’s transgressions.

Gordon qualified in 1996, and says he has had 10 974 clients since his qualification.

When asked about the allegations made against him, Gordon said: ”The allegations made against me are obviously of a serious nature and, as the complaints are complex and sensitive, I reserve my rights to respond when I have received legal advice thereon.”

He said that, as far as he recalls, the medical profiles of the complainants were high risk and not disclosed to him.

The HPCSA has received the application and has until September 18 to give notice of its intention to oppose it.

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