Retired surgeon backs Patel's decision to operate



Melbourne: Indian-origin surgeon Jayant Patel's decision to operate his patient who later died was an "excellent choice", an Australian court was told on Wednesday during a manslaughter trial against him.

William Renton-Power, a retired surgeon in Rockhampton in Queensland, reviewed the medical records of 62-year-old Patel's patient Mervyn Morris and told the Brisbane Supreme Court he believed the patient had diverticular bleeding, which is consistent with Patel's diagnosis, according to ABC report.

He further said that Patel's decision to operate at the time was excellent and that he would have done the same.

Renton-Power said there was a window of opportunity to operate while the patient was stable and that window ought to have been taken there and then.

He is the fourth witness to back Patel's actions.

Before Renton-Power, a third doctor also gave evidence in support of Patel's diagnosis of Morris.

Nambour Hospital's director of surgery Ratna Aseervatham reviewed Morris's medical records.

He told the court the top of his list of possible diagnoses was diverticular bleeding, in line with Patel's conclusion.

Aseervatham said the decision to operate is a balancing act between benefit and risk and comes down to a doctor's call.

Under cross examination, he agreed there were alternatives at the time, including transfusing Morris and sending him home to be monitored.

Meanwhile, the court was also told that Patel's case has made many doctors anxious about performing risky procedures.

Patel has pleaded not guilty to unlawfully killing pensioner Morris, who died three weeks after Patel removed his sigmoid colon in the Bundaberg Hospital in 2003.

The court has heard there was a previous trial.

Gastroenterologist Johan van den Bogaerde has been cross-examined in the witness box by the Crown.

He said the previous trial was very important in the medical fraternity.

Van den Bogaerde told the court the work performed by doctors was extremely risky and that, unfortunately, people sometimes die.

He said the case had made him extremely worried about performing endoscopies on patients and that this feeling was shared by many doctors, whether they were overseas-trained or not.

PTI