THE post-operative care of patient Mervyn Morris was examined in detail during the fourth day of Jayant Patel’s trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court.
Patel, 59, has been charged with bungling four operations at Bundaberg Hospital between 2003 and 2005, causing the deaths of Mr Morris, James Phillips, Gerry Kemps and the permanent injury of Ian Vowles.
Patel operated on Mr Morris, removing a part of his bowel, on May 23, 2003.
Dr Nigel Chikolwa, a former principal house officer at Bundaberg Hospital, assessed Mr Morris on June 13, 2003 — the day before his death.
He told the court Mr Morris had fluid in his lungs and legs, he was anaemic, dehydrated and he was suffering heart problems when he examined him about 4.30pm.
When asked by prosecutor Ross Martin if Mr Morris was a well man, Dr Chikolwa replied: “You could grossly summarise he was not a very well man”.
But under cross-examination by defence council Michael Byrne, QC, the doctor said that when he assessed Mr Morris he did not believe he needed to be admitted to the intensive care unit at the 4.30pm assessment.
He said the Bundaberg Hospital had only had five intensive care beds and there was “criteria” in admissions that had to be adhered to.
The court was told the patient’s condition deteriorated overnight and he was admitted to the intensive care unit, where he died on June 14.
Dr Emma Igras then took the stand, describing how the patient had to go back into surgery a week after the initial sigmoid colectomy on May 23.
She said the bowel was “poking” out through the hole made for the colostomy bag Mr Morris was fitted with and it had to be fixed.
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