May 16 2011
Worked from Hospital
An alleged backyard abortionist apparently operating for weeks from a city hospital, was nabbed before he could allegedly abort a young Pretoria woman’s unborn child.
The man, thought to be part of a larger syndicate of bogus doctors carrying out illegal abortions in Tshwane, was arrested on Saturday afternoon at Louis Pasteur Hospital and Women’s MediCross Clinic.
Claiming to be a doctor at the hospital, it is suspected the man used documents with the medical institution’s letterhead to convince the women of his credentials.
Hospital staff now have fears over security management while police are investigating how many women’s lives he may have endangered. The man and his apparent operation were uncovered when an alert security guard became suspicious of a young woman waiting outside the hospital’s pharmacy.
Questioning the woman, security guard Tebogo Mashula, of B4S VIP Security, discovered that she was to meet a “doctor” whom hospital security and staff had been monitoring for weeks.
Mashula questioned him when he arrived to meet the young woman.
Following them into the pharmacy, Mashula watched as he requested pain medication before the two took the lift to the hospital’s 8th floor where he allegedly told his victims he had an office.
“When I started questioning the man I became suspicious. There was something about him and he didn’t properly answer the questions I asked him,” she said.
Mashula ran up the stairs and reached the 8th floor just as the two got back into the lift to go down to the reception area.
Back downstairs, Mashula saw the two in the coffee shop.
Alerting the café manager that the man could be a bogus doctor, Mashula watched as the manager questioned the man.
“While the manager spoke to the man I questioned the woman. I asked her what she was doing at the hospital and she said she had come for an abortion.
“The manager told me that the man had given her a business card stating that he was a labour lawyer.”
Mashula contacted the police.
The police questioned and searched the man, recovering several abortion pills in his jacket - which can only be bought with a prescription.
B4S VIP Security managing director, Zubair Gafoor, said the man’s alleged scheme involved using hospital documentation to convince women that he was a practicing doctor at the hospital.
“Once he convinced them he takes them for coffee at the hospital café where he allegedly explains how the abortion will take place.
“Our investigations have revealed that he allegedly also tells them that apart from working at the hospital he has a private ‘surgery’ behind a Gold Exchange shop in Church Street where he performs the operations.
“Here he allegedly abandons his victims once he has taken their money. Our biggest fear now is how many women he has ‘operated’ on and what has happened to them.”
Echoeing Gafoor’s fears, hospital manager, Feroze Habib, said they had become aware of the man three weeks ago.
“Through our own investigations we have discovered that this man is allegedly pretending to be a doctor who does abortions. When we questioned him he told us that he was a labour lawyer as well.
“Our other concern is how many people he is working with as people who do these kind of things hardly ever work alone.
“We strongly believe that there are a number of people impersonating doctors who are carrying out abortions on unsuspecting women.”
Police spokeswoman, Warrant Officer Wanda Olivier, said a fraud case had been opened and the suspect would appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court today.