Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Patel lied to get job in Australia: court

10 February 2009 Content provided to you by AAP.

By Christine Flatley and Jessica Marszalek,


Jayant Patel was almost unemployable in the United States when he lied to Australian authorities that he was a highly successful surgeon who just wanted to help people, a court has been told.

Dr Kees Nydam, who helped recruit Patel to the Bundaberg Base Hospital in 2002, said the Indian-trained surgeon told him he wanted "an opportunity to give back to the community anywhere in the world".

Patel, 58, allegedly told Dr Nydam that money was no issue because he had become incredibly wealthy while working in the US.He didn't reveal, the Brisbane Magistrates Court was told on Monday, that he had been forced to resign from his position in Oregon because of medical negligence, and had had his licence cancelled in New York state.Dr Nydam said Patel never mentioned this in correspondence leading up to his employment, and that he would not have been hired if he had."I would not have employed him," Dr Nydam said.

Dr Nydam was giving evidence on the first day of a committal hearing into charges against Patel during his time as director of surgery at the hospital in southern Queensland between 2003 and 2005.

Patel faces 13 charges, including three of manslaughter, two of grievous bodily harm, eight fraud, as well as one alternative charge of negligent acts causing harm.

It's alleged Patel performed botched operations that led to death or permanent incapacity for several patients.

Prosecutor Ross Martin, SC, said Patel had misdiagnosed patients, performed surgeries he was barred from doing in the US and severely harmed five patients, three of whom died.

In one case, Patel failed to stop internal bleeding during an operation on the oesophagus of Gerry Kemps in December 2004, leaving the patient so he could conduct non-emergency surgery on another patient.Mr Martin said when Patel returned five hours later to stop the internal bleeding, he did not seek specialist help and eventually completed surgery without stopping the bleeding.Mr Kemps died the next day.

In another case, Patel allegedly wrongly told a patient he had cancer and substantially removed his bowel without running the required tests in October 2004.He also removed a healthy salivary gland, missing a cancerous mass, in another patient in 2005.

The fraud charges centre on allegations he falsely represented his qualifications.The committal hearing was told more than 70 witnesses would appear over the next three weeks.

Bundaberg Hospital Patients Support Group spokeswoman Beryl Crosby said outside court the wait had been a long one for all those involved."We are strong, we're very strong," she said.

"We've got to be strong for the other patients - we'll be OK."The committal hearing was adjourned until Wednesday due to the unavailability of witnesses on Tuesday.

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