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Patel refused to tell patient`s mother of his condition: Nurse

Last Updated: Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 11:31

Melbourne: An Australian court hearing the case of Jayant Patel, accused of manslaughter, was told Thursday that the Indian American surgeon had threatened to quit after a patient`s mother was told that her son on whom the surgeon performed oesophgectomy was dying.

Nurse Alison Cooper in her statement told the Brisbane Supreme Court that Patel had refused to tell James Edward Phillips` mother that her son`s condition was "gravely
poor" following an oesophagectomy he performed in May 2003.

"(Hospital anaesthetist) Martin Carter and I both asked Patel if maybe, given the poor prognosis of the gentleman... whether his next of kin should be advised of the situation,"
Cooper, who worked in the hospital ICU at the time, said, according to an AAP report.

To the query, Patel replied: "No way. He`s going to get up and walk out of here". Phillips died later that day.

Cooper told the court that after they spoke to Patel, Carter had a conversation with Phillips` mother, who then approached the surgeon to ask about her son`s poor prognosis.

Cooper said she was later blamed for telling Phillips` mother, and that Patel threatened to quit his post at the hospital.

"Patel screamed at me later in the day... literally screamed at me about six inches away from my face," she said.

"He told me that we had been instructed not to speak to Phillips about the condition of her son, that he thought we had gone behind his back.

"And he kept saying things like threatening to leave the Bundaberg Base Hospital if we kept going behind his back, and then we would be stuffed because the Bundaberg Base Hospital would lose an exceptionally talented surgeon," she said.
She rejected assertions by the defence that these conversations had not taken place.

"Carter and I both spoke to him (Patel) on a number of occasions," she said, adding ethically Phillips should have been told about the condition.

Patel, 60, has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Phillips and two other patients, and the grievous bodily harm of a fourth man.
The charges relate to his time as director of surgery at the hospital between 2003 and 2005.


First Published: Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 11:31
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