Friday, March 26, 2010


Dancing with Dr Death: The Inside Story of Doctor Jayant Patel and the Bundaberg Base Hospital----------------------------
BRISBANE - An American doctor was accused yesterday of scheduling unnecessary and dangerous operations that prosecutors said resulted in the deaths of three patients and the serious harm of another.

Indian-born surgeon Jayant Patel pleaded not guilty to three charges of manslaughter and one count of grievous bodily harm in a crowded courtroom at Brisbane Supreme Court.

His trial is expected to take four to six weeks and hear testimony from some 90 witnesses. The trial comes more than 25 years after questions were first raised about Patel's competency, and five years after a government inquiry found he may have directly contributed to patient deaths.

Patel, 59, has not spoken publicly about the charges, which relate to four patients he treated while working as director of surgery between 2003 and 2005 at a state-run hospital in Bundaberg, a sugar industry town. He faces a possible sentence of life in prison if convicted. The case has received massive media attention throughout Australia.

Prosecutors say Patel repeatedly performed surgeries he had been banned from undertaking in the United States, misdiagnosed patients and used sloppy, antiquated surgical techniques.

In his opening statement, prosecutor Ross Martin said the fact the patients consented to the operations was irrelevant. "To put it shortly and crudely, one cannot consent to one's own death or grievous bodily harm," he said.

In 1984, Patel was fined by New York health officials and placed on probation for three years for failing to examine patients before surgery. He later worked at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Oregon. Kaiser banned him from liver and pancreatic surgeries in 1998 after reviewing 79 complaints about him. The Oregon Board of Medical Examiners later cited Patel for "gross or repeated acts of negligence". AP

From, Tuesday, 23-Mar-2010