Jayant `Dr Death` Patel guilty of manslaughter

Indian-origin surgeon Jayant Patel was convicted of manslaughter of three Australian patients.

Updated: Jun 29, 2010, 23:42 PM IST

Melbourne: Indian-origin surgeon Jayant
Patel dubbed `Dr Death` was Tuesday convicted of manslaughter of
three Australian patients and grievously harming another after
a trial which ran for 14 weeks.

Patel, 60, now an American citizen, was ordered to
police custody till Thursday when his sentence will be
pronounced after a 12-man jury found him guilty of all charges
after 50 hours of deliberations.

Patel did not speak at the trial where he was held
guilty and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The American Indian was found guilty on three counts
of manslaughter committed during his tenure as director of
surgery in Bundaberg Base Hospital in Queensland between

The doctor was extradited from United States to face
the Supreme Court in Brisbane on conducting dangerous,
unnecessary and inappropriate operation on some of his

Though Patel pleaded not guilty, he was convicted by
the jury for the manslaughter of James Phillips, 46, Gerry
Kemps, 77, and Mervyn Morris, 75, who died following surgery
performed by him.

He was also found guilty of causing grievous bodily
harm to Ian Vowles, whose healthy bowel he removed in
October 2004.

Patel, who had been dubbed `Dr Death` by Australian
media, faced a 14-week-long trial involving cross examination
of 76 witnesses on his oesophagectomies surgeries on two
patients Kemps and Phillips, a major colon operation on Morris
and a operation to remove healthy bowel of Vowles.

The trial came almost quarter of a century after
questions were raised about his competency in carrying out
surgeries. The jury heard that Patel had been banned by US
health authorities for carrying out some medical procedures.

The prosecution alleged the operations on the three
deceased men should not have been done at Bundaberg Hospital
as the facility did not have the resources to deal with such
major surgeries.

Meanwhile, Patel`s defence team had insisted that
Patel was not guilty, saying that he always acted in the best
interests of his patients.

Defence barrister Michael Byrne told the jury much
of the evidence presented by the crown during the weeks long
trial had been fuelled by "a great deal of second-guessing and
use of hindsight".

"With hindsight it may have been the wrong call (to
operate on Kemps) but that does not make the decision
criminally negligent," Byrne said.

Byrne warned the jury against using the benefit of
hindsight in making their judgment about whether or not Patel
was criminally negligent in proceeding with the operations,
ABC reported today.

Patel arrived in Australia in early 2003 and began
work as a surgeon at the hospital.