Expert testimony in trial of Dr Patel

By Candy Lashkari

Dr Jayant Patel’s manslaughter trial in the supreme court of Brisbane saw Dr Nigel Chikolwa give testimony about the deteriorating condition of Mr Morris after surgery. Dr Chikolwa was the principal house officer at Bundaberg hospital, where Dr Patel had performed the surgery in 2003.

Dr Nigel Chikolwa said, “when I saw Mr Morris on the afternoon of June 13, 2004, nineteen days after his surgery, he had a long list of health problems. He had high blood pressure, was dehydrated, had jaundice, fluid on the lungs which tested positive to e-coli, a urinary tract infection and fluid in the lungs, he said. "He was septic. I wouldn't say he was very well ... he was not a very well man.”

Dr Emma Igras had testified on Thursday before the Supreme Court in Brisbane about the same major surgery performed on Mervyn John Morris. She said that his bowel was “poking through the wound” a week after Patel performed surgery to remove part of his colon. To repair the burst wound a second operation was required and Dr Emma Igras assisted Dr Patel with both surgical procedures.

The condition of Mr Morris deteriorated the night after the second operation. He was taken to the ICU in the Bundaberg Base hospital as he was found to be suffering from respiratory distress. The next morning at 9.40 am he died.

Dr Patel is currently under trial for three charges of manslaughter related to deaths of patients he operated on. These include Mervyn Morris, James Phillips and Gerardus Kemps. There is also a charge of causing grievous bodily harm to Ian Vowles.

Dr Patel has pleaded not guilty to all four charges. And he turns 60 next month. Now the evidence of Vicki Whitfield, daughter of Mr Morris is expected to be heard by the court. Dr Patel is said to have assured her that her father, Mr Morris, would be home soon, just days before he died in hospital.

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