“Devastating” evidence against Dr. Jayant Patel

Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Dr. Jayant Patel, 60, is pleading not guilty to the manslaughter of Mervyn Morris, Gerry Kemps and James Phillips and grievous bodily harm to Ian Vowles during his time as director of surgery at the Bundaberg Base Hospital between 2003 and 2005. In new developments the Brisbane Supreme Court heard many medical specialists give evidence against Patel’s decision to operate on Mr. Phillips in May 2003 who later died.

This is the 13th week of the trial.

Evidence was heard form renal specialist Dr Peter Miach who said that Mr. Phillips was too ill to undergo a major operation like the removal of the esophagus or food pipe. He pointed out that there was “a direct relationship between his operation and his passing away”. Dr Glyn Jamieson also said that surgery posed a “major risk” to Mr. Phillips. Dr John Allsop said more consultation with other experts was warranted before Patel decided to operate. “I would have run a mile from this man as a surgical prospect for something as big as an oesophagectomy,” Dr Allsop said.

The prosecutor Mr. Martin was speaking at his closing address to the jury. He said that Dr. Patel was out of his surgical practice for two years before he joined the Bundaberg based hospital in central Queensland because of the disciplinary action taken against him in the US. In 2000 he was suspended from performing certain complex surgeries without a second opinion by the Oregon board of medical examiners. Mr. Martin in his speech said, “(He was) an over-ambitious surgeon with no insight into his limitations (and) was willing to ignore the warning given in Oregon.” He explained that oesophagectomy was a “dangerous and dramatic” operation similar in complexity to a heart transplant. Patel had already performed this complex operation on Gerry Kemps and James Phillips and both died later.

Crown Prosecutor Mr. Martin said finally “At the end of the day you will conclude that their evidence was devastating.”

Dr Patel's lawyer Michael Byrne agreed to the history of Dr. Patel’s practice saying that Dr. Patel was performing only minor out patient or day care based surgeries and seeing patients in his clinic since December 2000. This continued until February 2001 when he stopped practising. His practice resumed in 2003 at Bundaberg where he was appointed director of surgery.

Justice John Byrne's associate asked Dr. Patel whether he would like to put forth his evidence which the doctor refused saying, ”I do not, your honour.” Law states the Dr. Patel is not required to provide evidence.

The trial continues.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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