Jayant Patel
Jayant Patel Dave Hunt

Patel's actions prove he wasn't a competent surgeon: Crown

FORMER Bundaberg surgeon Jayant Patel acted below the level of a competent doctor when he operated on an elderly man who died three weeks later, a court has heard.

Patel removed part of Mervyn John Morris's sigmoid colon in 2003 after Mr Morris fronted Bundaberg Base Hospital with rectal bleeding.

Mr Morris died on June 14, 2003, three weeks after the operation.

Dr Rodney Woods, a colorectal surgery expert, reviewed Mr Morris's case and believes the operation to remove part of Mr Morris's colon never should have occurred.

Crown prosecutor Peter Davis SC asked Dr Woods, who gave evidence during Patel's manslaughter trial on Wednesday, whether the surgery was associated with Mr Morris's death.

"I think if he hadn't have had the surgery then I don't believe he would have developed what happened following the surgery," he said.

Asked to elaborate on what developed after the surgery meant, Dr Woods said: "The various complications and subsequent death."

Asked whether the decision to operate was in line with what a competent surgeon would recommend, Dr Wood replied: "no".

Dr Wood said it was difficult to answer how far below the competency level Patel's actions were but confirmed it was certainly below competence.

The Crown alleges Patel misdiagnosed Mr Morris with diverticular disease instead of identifying Mr Morris as suffering from radiation proctitis, inflammation of the rectum resulting from cancer treatment Mr Morris underwent years earlier.

Patel is also accused of not administering Mr Morris proper post-operative care.

Dr Woods said it would have been appropriate for Mr Morris to be administered parenteral feeding after his operation.

During Mr Morris's post-operative care, Patel fed his patient through a nasal gastric tube method.

Patel is on trial in the Supreme Court in Brisbane on a manslaughter charge.


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