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‘Dr. Death’ Jayant Patel’s patient ‘knew of operation risks’

The Queensland Supreme Court has been told that a patient who died after being operated by former Indian-origin surgeon Dr. Jayant Patel a.k.a. “Dr. Death” was fully aware of the risk of death.

The Queensland Supreme Court has been told that a patient who died after being operated by former Indian-origin surgeon Dr. Jayant Patel a.k.a. “Dr. Death” was fully aware of the risk of death,but knew the procedure was the best option to save his life.

The court heard that James Edward Phillips died because his long-standing kidney problem was not treated effectively after Patel conducted an oesophagectomy on him at the Bundaberg Base Hospital in May 2003. Patel also had to fly “blind” to insert a central venous line (CVL),as the hospital lacked ultrasound equipments.

Anaesthetist Dr. Alison McCready told the court that the jugular vein was cut,which resulted in the patient losing blood and requiring four bags of intravenous fluids. As a result,the CVL could not be inserted to measure body fluids.

The court heard that when red blood cells are stored in bags for a period of time,they change and may have a higher potassium level. Phillips was unable to process the built-up potassium,which could not be measured properly due to the lack of a CVL,‘News.co.au’ reports.

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When asked if Phillips had wanted the operation,knowing it was his best chance for a cure and that he had accepted the risk of death,McCready said: “I recall that being my understanding at the time and that those things were mentioned on the consent form,including risk of death.”

Dr Patel has pleaded not guilty in the Supreme Court to the manslaughter of Phillips and two other patients,Gerry Kemps and Mervyn John Morris. He has also pleaded not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to Ian Rodney Vowles.

The charges relate to Dr Patel’s time as director of surgery at the Bundaberg Base Hospital between 2003 and 2005. Earlier,the Court was told that Dr. Patel was disciplined by an American medical body in August 2000 for “gross acts of negligence.”

First published on: 20-04-2010 at 11:21:40 am
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