Dr Patel ignored advice from colleagues

By Candy Lashkari

The charges of manslaughter that Dr Patel has been facing over three patients he had operated on between 2003 and 2005 are now on trial in the Supreme Court in Brisbane. The patients were Mervyn John Morris, 75 , Ames Edward Phillips, 46, and Geradus Wihelmus Gosewinus Kemps, 77. Dr Patel is also charged with one grievous bodily harm case besides these three manslaughter charges to Ian Rodney Vowles, 62.

The latest evidence in his ongoing trial was given by dietician Grace Andrews. She testified that when he was the head surgeon at the Bundaberg Base Hospital, Dr Jayant Patel did not take advice from his colleagues. She said that while it was normal procedure for doctors to discuss patient’s nutrition plans she was never consulted by Dr Patel.

"The surgical team at the time was not known for consultation or taking advice from other staff," said Mrs Andrews. "What do you mean by the surgical team?" asked prosecutor David Meredith. "Dr Patel," Ms Andrews replied.

She had prepared Mr Morris’s nutrition plan on clear fluids based on the doctor’s orders. She also mentioned that there was another way to improve the nutrition of the patient and that would have needed intravenous feeding. However she was never offered a chance to express this option by Dr Patel.

Pathologist Dr Vasanthamala Varmin also gave evidence in the Supreme Court in the Mervyn Morris case. She said that she had examined the sigmoid colon after Dr Patel had surgically removed it from Mr Morris at Bundaberg Base hospital in May 2003. She said “analysis of the tissue revealed no malignant growths and no bleeding site.”

When under cross examination the defence barrister Michael Byrne QC asked if the transportation of the colon stored in formalin would have washed away any signs of blood, she responded that it would not have. This means that Dr Patel removed the colon for no reason and it was not the cause of the rectal bleeding that Mr Morris was suffering from.

The trial has generated considerable interest and the proceedings are being keenly monitored. The days of doctors playing God without accountability are over.

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