An American doctor, one Jayant Patel, was fined in 1984 by New York state health officials and given three years’ probation for not examining patients before going ahead with surgery. In 1998, after working in Oregon for Kaiser, he was cited by the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners for “gross or repeated acts of negligence”. Kaiser had received 79 complaints about him.
In 2003 Patel showed up in Queensland, Australia applying for a job at the Bundaberg Base Hospital, about 230 miles north of Brisbane. He presented a resume that papered over the periods that he might have been questioned about and was hired as Director of Surgery. He held that position for two years, during which time he inflicted so many injuries on patients, among them three deaths, that a support group grew up, representing his former patients.
Upcoming Trial in Queensland
Patel has been extradited from Oregon for his planned three-week trial in Brisbane. Ross Martin, the prosecutor, stated that Patel is facing 14 charges based on his negligence between 2003 and 2005 at Bundaberg. He showed repeated negligence by doing surgeries he had been banned from doing in the U.S., by misdiagnosing patients, and by using poor surgical techniques.
- Patel found a benign cyst during a colonoscopy and without doing a biopsy, he went ahead and removed the patient’s bowel. When tested later, a specimen showed no signs of cancer. The patient did survive.
- Patel operated on a patient’s throat and then left to work on another patient. Meanwhile the first patient bled internally for several hours and died of blood loss.
- Patel operated on a patient with thyroid cancer but instead of removing the large tumor he removed a healthy salivary gland. Later another doctor noticed that the surgical scar was not close to the tumor and referred the patient for a second surgery.
Patel now faces charges of fraud, manslaughter, and inflicting grievous bodily harm. It seems that Australia is not so far away as it used to be in the days when a person could head off “down under” and never be seen again.
Medical malpractice cases are among the most complex and time-consuming. Much investigation must be done and specialized witnesses interviewed. We trust our doctors to keep our best interests at heart and to protect us from injury when we are ill. If you have been hurt by medical negligence you may have a valid legal claim.
Please contact our personal injury law firm in Mobile, Alabama if you would like to schedule a free case evaluation.