Jayant 'Dr Death' Patel guilty of manslaughter



Jayant `Dr Death` Patel guilty of manslaughter 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 2003-2005.

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 patients.

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.

PTI