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Patel performed 'wrong operation on the wrong patient'

By Jason Rawlins

Updated Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:28pm AEDT

Patel, 59, has pleaded not guilty to three manslaughter charges and one of grievous bodily harm. (AAP: Dave Hunt)


The trial in Brisbane's Supreme Court of former Bundaberg surgeon Jayant Patel has heard he performed the wrong operation on the wrong patient.

Patel, 59, has pleaded not guilty to three manslaughter charges and one of grievous bodily harm.

One of the manslaughter counts relates to Patel's treatment of James Edward Phillips.

Prosecutor Ross Martin has continued opening the Crown case by providing more details of an oesophagectomy that Patel performed on Mr Phillips.

Mr Martin said it was a major procedure and Mr Phillips was already in poor health.

It was described as a tragic case because Mr Phillips could have been treated in less dangerous and invasive ways.

Mr Martin also said medical evidence would show a doctor should perform at least six oesophagectomies a year to maintain a reasonable level of skill.

He said Patel performed four oesophagectomies during his time at Bundaberg and did not have the experience to perform the operation.

Mr Martin outlined the case of another patient not the subject of charges against Patel.

He said James Grave underwent an oesophagectomy in 2003.

The Court heard Mr Grave's condition deteriorated and doctors at Bundaberg tried to arrange a transfer to a larger intensive care unit.

Mr Martin said Patel reacted by saying "if this patient leaves, I'll resign" and would not cooperate.

He said Mr Grave was later sent to Brisbane's Mater Hospital where his condition eventually improved.

The trial has also heard Patel told a patient he was going to "whip out" his bowel because it did not like his body.

Ian Vowels was 56 in 2004 when Patel removed his bowel after the discovery of a non-malignant polyp.

Mr Martin said when Mr Vowels questioned the need to remove his bowel when the polyp was benign, Patel said "your bowel doesn't like your body. We'll whip it out".

Patel assured Mr Vowels he would be running around like a horse in no time.

Mr Martin said the operation should not have been done by Patel at all.

The prosecutor also told the court Patel ignored a stipulated order issued by the State of Oregon's Board of Medical Examiners after his repeated acts of negligence in the US.

The order refers to restrictions on his ability to perform surgery and the mandatory requirement that he seek second opinions on complicated surgical cases.

Mr Martin said Patel did not tell anyone at Bundaberg about the order and there was no evidence he sought second opinions or documented them as required.

The trial continues.

Tags: law-crime-and-justice, crime, courts-and-trials, murder-and-manslaughter, australia, qld, brisbane-4000, bundaberg-4670

First posted Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:49pm AEDT





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