Sunday Times Daily reached out to Beale to ask for his comment regarding the developments in his court proceedings.
In a written reply, he said: “I am not permitted to speak to the media, but you may presume that the legal matter to which you refer has had far-reaching effects on myself, but nothing like the effect on the family of my anaesthetist colleague Dr Abdulay Munshi who was assassinated September 2020.
“Initially journalists were recruited to conduct a trial by media, which was damaging. For a comprehensive review of the medical facts of this matter I would refer you to the current review on the Facebook page of SA Doctors United.”
It was on this page that medical professionals threw their weight behind Beale, with more than 83,000 of them signing a petition for the charges against Beale and Munshi to be dropped, saying doctors were now under threat and would perform their duties in fear.
At the time the two doctors were charged, the SA Medical Association (Sama) had also expressed its concern over the charge, advising that a specialised medical court be established in which trained medical practitioners would be called to scrutinise decisions made by doctors.
Sama had lambasted the HPCSA and said it was slow in handling matters such as these.
During his now solo court case last week, an additional charge of culpable homicide was added to Beale’s charges relating to the death of 21-month-old Alissa Strydom. She died in July 2016, also after what was supposed to be a routine medical surgery to treat her acid reflux. The toddler, went into cardiac arrest and died.
The indictment revealed how a number of things allegedly went wrong during and after her operation. She bled internally, but this was not recorded in her medical file. No request was made for an urgent haemoglobin level test nor was an intraoperative arterial blood gas test conducted.
The court papers further stated: "No efforts were made intra-operatively to exclude haemorrhagic shock. The anaesthesia was reversed and the deceased was extubated in theatre. An oral airway was placed and the deceased was breathing spontaneously, whereafter she was transferred to the recovery room. The registered nurse, Ms T Ramjee, noted that the deceased was clinically pale.
“An arterial blood gas test was conducted in the recovery room at approximately 8.38pm, which demonstrated a hematocrit (proportion of red blood cells in blood) of 21%.
“The deceased suffered bradycardia and a cardiac arrest. After a prolonged resuscitation the deceased was declared dead at approximately 8.57pm on July 29 2016.”
Like the Sayeds, the Strydom family had lodged a complaint against Beale with the HPCSA after Alissa’s death in 2016 and then decided to pursue criminal charges.