Pietermaritzburg – A bogus doctor who went undetected in Pietermaritzburg for 14 years has been arrested and charged with fraud after an investigation by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA).
Cuban national Juan Luis Yings Elutil, who used the alias Dr Omar, practised at Daymed Private hospital despite not being registered.
Discovery Health has confirmed it is also investigating the man after irregularities were reported to the scheme. Chief executive Dr Jonathan Broomberg confirmed the scheme had lodged a complaint with the HPCSA. He said investigations were ongoing.
“Fraud is not only a serious criminal offence but it is also a significant challenge that plagues the South African health-care system,” said Broomberg.
Elutil is, allegedly, also in the country illegally, according to the HPCSA.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane confirmed the 53-year-old man had been arrested and charged.
However, according to the Mountain Rise police station commander Pregasen Pillay, the charges were provisionally withdrawn in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court this week. This could not be confirmed by the NPA.
The HPCSA was also unaware of the charges being withdrawn.
Mischelle Jullius, of the HPCSA’s KZN inspectorate, confirmed Elutil was not registered for the 14 years during which he worked in Pietermaritzburg.
She said doctors had to be registered to protect the integrity of the health profession.
“If doctors are not registered, anyone could treat patients while posing as a doctor. This is why it is extremely important that every doctor must be registered. Failing this, it becomes a criminal offence,” said Julius.
Daymed hospital owner Dr Navind Dayanand said, through his attorney Siva Chetty, that he had not known that Elutil was not registered.
He provided the Sunday Tribune with documents pertaining to Elutil’s qualifications and history. These still need to be verified.
Chetty claimed that the exposure of the doctor and the ensuing bad publicity for the hospital was being caused by a former employee who was on a campaign to discredit Dayanand.
He also said Elutil worked for Dayanand and not for the Daymed hospital.
“Dr Omar told my client he was registered with the HPCSA when he was employed. Dr Dayanand was unaware Elutil was unregistered. He was also not employed full-time and did sessions with Dr Dayanand under the supervision of other doctors.”
“He did not treat any patients in Daymed hospital,” said Chetty.
Despite Dayanand denying that Elutil treated patients at Daymed, patients and employees have confirmed he worked at the hospital.
Elutil was apparently the night duty doctor who ran a ward.
One patient, Shamlin Rajoo, said he was treated by Elutil in January after a bike accident.
“I was rushed to Daymed Private hospital’s casualty ward and was treated by Omar there. He was the night doctor on duty in casualty. He treated me and also signed off a sick-note for me. When I heard recently through the grapevine that he was unregistered, I was horrified. You wouldn’t expect something like this when going to a private hospital for treatment,” said Rajoo.
Another person who requested anonymity and claimed to be a long-standing patient of Daymed said she too had been treated by Omar at the hospital.
Earlier this week, an affidavit was sent to the Sunday Tribune on behalf of Elutil where he claimed Dayanand was well aware of him being unregistered when he employed him.
He gave details of his period of employment and stated he earned R3000 when first employed in 2003, which increased to R17500 as the years progressed.
The Sunday Tribune was later informed by Chetty that Elutil was placed under duress to write the affidavit and that it was orchestrated. A new one was sent to the Sunday Tribune via Dayanand’s attorney. In the new affidavit, Elutil claimed he signed the original affidavit without reading the contents.
The prominent Dayanand family made headlines earlier this year when information relating to Dayanand’ son appeared in a leaked KPMG report into fraud and corruption at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Nelson R Mandela school of medicine.
The university alleged he was practising as a doctor without having completed his degree.
Elutil did not respond to queries.