IVF Dr Paul Soler files counter protest - 11/7/2005

link to article in The TIMES

Facts are facts, paediatrician insists in IVF controversy
Consultant neonatal paediatrician Paul Soler yesterday filed a counter protest in which he stood by the public declaration made during a television programme discussing in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

Dr Soler refuted comments made in a judicial protest filed by Josie Muscat, director of St James Hospital Group Ltd. Dr Muscat accused Dr Soler of making false allegations about the result of IVF procedures in Malta during the programme Bondí+ on TVM on June 7.

Although Dr Soler did not mention him and his clinic by name, it was evident, Dr Muscat argued, that the allegations referred to him personally and to the St James Assisted Reproduction Clinic since IVF procedures were carried out in Malta only at this clinic by Dr Muscat and another specialist working at the same clinic.

In his protest, Dr Muscat said that apart from being untrue, Dr Soler's allegations were injurious and defamatory to him and the clinic. He called on Dr Soler to withdraw such defamatory allegations.

In his counter protests, Dr Soler said that Dr Muscat had attributed to him allegations and comments he never made. Furthermore, he added, Dr Muscat had concluded that every comment made during the programme referred to him when this was not the case.

Dr Soler reiterated that there were consequences to high order pregnancies: there was the risk of serious malformations in newborns; various cases of multiple births were being admitted to the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at St Luke's Hospital and the unit was put under added pressure and the death rate of babies was about two times higher than that of singletons and twins.

These, he said, were irrefutable facts based on statistics and they could not be changed or taken back just because Dr Muscat felt libelled or offended by them.

Dr Soler added that, although both Dr Muscat and himself agreed that infertility practice was not regulated in Malta, Dr Muscat thought the situation ought to remain the same while he thought it should change. Dr Soler said each party was entitled to his own opinion even if one party did not like the manifestation of the other party's opinion.

Dr Joseph Zammit Maemple signed the counter protest.

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