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Medics queue up to have books signed

Discovery Health hosted doctors and their partners in Johannesburg last month where they gave away copies of “Blood Money – The Cyril Karabus Story”. Speakers included Dr Theo Kopenhager, who was responsible for the boycott of an international medical conference arranged by a UAE-based company - and the eventual cancellation of the conference - in protest against the continued detention of Karabus in Abu Dhabi. Karabus and author Suzanne Belling signed books.
by ANT KATZ | Jun 09, 2014

Photo: MICHAEL BELLING

Over 100 doctors and their partners attended the Johannesburg launch of Blood Money – The Cyril Karabus Story (Jacana Media) at Summer Place, Johannesburg, last month.

The book, by Suzanne Belling, tells of the nine-month fight by the retired paediatric oncologist to prove his innocence of wrongful manslaughter and forgery charges following the death of a young patient in 2002, when Professor Karabus was doing a locum in Abu Dhabi.

Discovery Book Launch1
RIGHT: Suzanne Belling, author of Blood Money – The Cyril Karabus Story, and Professor Cyril Karabus signing books for Lyanne and Dr Theo Kopenhager (one of the speakers) at the book launch at Summer Place.

Karabus was arrested and imprisoned while stopping over in Dubai on his way home from is son’s wedding in Canada in August 2012. At the time of his arrest, Karabus knew nothing of the trumped-up charges, a 2003 trial in his absence and his conviction by an Abu Dhabi court.

Dr Morris Goodman, head of health profession strategy at Discovery Health, introduced the three speakers, Belling, Karabus and Dr Theo Kopenhager, who was responsible for the boycott of an international medical conference arranged by a UAE company - and the eventual cancellation of the conference – in protest against the continued detention of Karabus in Abu Dhabi.

Discovery Book Launch
LEFT: Author Suzanne Belling and Professor Cyril Karabus (front) signing books at Summer Place at the launch of the book on Karabus’ nine-month ordeal in the United Arab Emirates at the event hosted by Discovery Health, while Jacquie Fioramonte, of Discovery Health, Dr Robert Gumbi and Dr Ridwan Mia look on.


Belling said that Karabus had saved many young cancer patients. The travesty of justice in Abu Dhabi elicited the indignation of many people in many walks of life – “first the family, then the lawyers, then the patients, the doctors from the SA Medical Association, the World Medical Association and medical associations around the world, politicians, businessmen, members of the South African community and expat South Africans in other countries.

FUTURE BOOK SIGNING EVENTS NEAR YOU

Jaffa, Pretoria -  June 26
Rabbi Cyril Harris Centre, Johannesburg - Date to be advised
Red Cross Hospital, Cape Town - June 23
Discovery Health, Cape Town - June 24

Big people saved Karabus

“Cyril saved so many little people and, in the end, the big people saved him.”

Kopenhager related how he had accepted an invitation to address a gynaecological conference, part of a series of medical conferences at the same time.

When he subsequently found out that the conference was arranged by a company based in the UAE, he withdrew in protest at the detention of Karabus, requesting the other participants to do the same.

“The story went viral, with doctors in droves abandoning speaking commitments at other conferences and many refused to attend.”

He read a letter from Dr Asad Bhorat, convener of the internal medicine conference, also arranged by the UAE company. Bhorat, who was present at the book launch, withdrew from the conference and resigned as convener, but not before giving the organisers a chance to have him propose a resolution condemning the treatment of Karabus.

“This was litmus test for me,” Bhorat wrote. “It would prove the relationship bias in the conference organisers either way. I was denied this request, needless to say.”

Karabus spoke of his shock on is arrest at the airport, where he was called a murderer. He described his two-month period in jail, before he was released on bail, followed by a seven-month stay with a former South African doctor, Dr Elwin Buchel, in Abu Dhabi. He was often unaware of what was happening in his 21 court appearances, as no translator was provided. In  March 2013 he was finally acquitted of the charges, but  through numerous obstacles, was only allowed to return to South Africa two months later.

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