April 14 2010: Heart patients may be putting their health at risk by taking treatment from Dr Kiran Bhagat who, contrary to his claims, is not a heart specialist ÔÇô the Botswana Health Professions Council (BHPC) has warned.
BHPC has flighted public notices in the media warning Batswana that Dr Bhagat is not registered as a cardiologist and that he has been told to stop practicing as one.
A war of words has erupted between BHPC and celebrity physician Dr Kiran Bhagat over his legitimacy as a cardiologist.
The BHPC on Friday flighted a shock announcement that Dr Bhagat is registered as a general physician and not a cardiologist.
“The BHPC wishes to clarify and inform the public that Dr. Kiran Bhagat is registered with the council as a General Physician and not as a Cardiologist. The council has communicated with Dr Bhagat on the matter, including the requirement for his medical practice to be consistent with his registration status,” read the statement.
The announcement came as a shock to many Batswana, especially as Dr Bhagat has fashioned himself as a celebrity Cardiologist whose expert opinion is sought after in medical circles.
When contacted for comment, Dr Bhagat did not mince words, dismissing the BHPC statement as devoid of any merit, further warning the BHPC to retract its statement or face legal action.
“Dr Bhagat is a Specialist Physician and registered as such with the BHPC. The statement by BHPC is devoid of any merit whatsoever and they have been called upon to retract it forthwith or face legal action. In the meantime Dr Bhagat will continue to practice as a Specialist Physician and will continue to specialize in cardiology and cardio-vascular medicine which is his field of expertise. He will also continue to refer to himself, quite properly, as a Cardiologist,” he said.
Dr Bhagat’s threats of legal action were met head on by BHPC Chairman Dr Joseph Moeketsi Makhema, who also said that they will be forced to seek recourse from the courts of law if Dr Bhagat continues to practice as a cardiologist when he is not registered as such.
Dr Makhema also revealed that BHPC has been investigating Dr Bhagat since 2002, and they are satisfied that their decision not to register him as a cardiologist is valid. He also explained that the investigations took long because they had to ascertain Dr Bhagat’s training, qualifications and practice record.
“The Botswana Health Practitioners Act of 2001 gives us the powers to take measures against medical practitioners,” he said.
BHPC’s denouncing of Dr Bhagat came as a shock to many Batswana, and reports indicate that his offices and those of the BHPC have been inundated with calls from worried clients. Dr Bhagat runs the cardiac clinic in Gaborone, where he operates as a heart specialist. He has also fashioned himself as a celebrity cardiologist whose expert opinion is widely sought after. He has health columns in the print media, and regularly offers expert opinion in the broadcast media.