Fiji Doctor Who Killed Woman in Botched Abortion Wants to Reopen Practice

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 27, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Fiji Doctor Who Killed Woman in Botched Abortion Wants to Reopen Practice

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 27
, 2009

Suva, Fiji (LifeNews.com) — A doctor in Fiji who killed a woman in a botched abortion is seeking to reopen his medical practice, but health officials are trying to stop him. Sachida Mudaliar was previously found guilty in the death of student Poonam Kumar from a botched abortion he did on her.

Last year, a judicial panel ordered a new trial for Mudaliar concerning the March 2003 botched abortion.

Now Mudaliar wants to reopen his medical practice and says he should have the right to do so because his original conviction was quashed in favor of a new trial.

Naidu Law, the law firm representing the embattled physician, said their client had the right to engage in medicine again despite killing a patient.

However, interim Minister for Health, Dr. Neil Sharma, told the Fiji Times that government lawyers are seeking an injunction to stop that from happening.

Sharma says Mudaliar was not allowed to practice medicine and was taken off the list of licensed physicians after the botched abortion.

"The ministry is seeking legal opinion from the Government’s legal arms to see if an injunction can be filed to stop Dr Mudaliar from practicing medicine until he is re-registered," Sharma said.

The firm told the Times that Mudaliar does not need to reapply for his license.

Sala Saketa, the Fiji Medical Council chair and permanent secretary for Health for the Fiji government, agreed with Sharma that Mudaliar must reapply to practice medicine again.

Last October, a panel of three judges ordered a new trial and dropped the conviction, which would have put Mudaliar in jail for three years.

The judges, including Justice Keith Mason, Justice Kenneth Handley and Justice Mark Weinberg ruled the previous trial was unfair and that both Justice Anthony Gates and the Fiji Court of Appeal failed to consider testimony from abortion practitioners from other nations.

Mudaliar’s attorneys also claimed in their legal papers that the trial was adjourned for 18 days after Judge Gates indicated he had to leave the country on a trip. They also said the victim’s boyfriend was cited as an accomplice in the botched abortion, yet he was not charged in the case.

The Fiji government argued the state proved its case and that an appeal is not warranted.

Officials found Kumar dead at Mudaliar’s abortion business in Nabua, after he left her overnight in his abortion business following her death.

Gates, in his ruling, said Mudaliar was guilty of botching the abortion and guilty of gross negligence in the case.

Gates said Mudaliar knew that Kumar was at risk if she underwent the abortion. She was 20 weeks pregnant at the time and had excessive bleeding and shock after the abortion. The abortion tore her uterus and led to the massive bleeding.

In his ruling, Gates cited Mudaliar’s failure to transfer Kumar to the intensive care unit at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital once he noticed the abortion went awry.

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