Dr gives evidence at Patel trial

Dr Jayant Patel
Dr Jayant Patel Supplied

JAYANT Patel’s surgery was directly responsible for the death of a patient who was too frail to undergo a major operation, a court was told.

Giving evidence in Brisbane’s Supreme Court yesterday, renal specialist Dr Peter Miach said James Edward Phillips, 46, had too many major health problems in May 2003 to be a suitable candidate for the oesophagectomy performed by Patel.

Dr Miach, who treated Mr Phillips at Bundaberg Hospital several times, said he would not have supported Patel’s decision to operate.

“He was too frail. He had too many other conditions,” Dr Miach said.

The court was told Mr Phillips was in the end stages of kidney failure, had heart problems and had recently been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer when Patel decided to perform the major operation.

Dr Miach said he didn’t learn Mr Phillips had undergone surgery until after he was brought out of theatre.

Asked by prosecutor Ross Martin, SC, if he would have expected to be consulted, Dr Miach said he “would have expected it 100%”.

Mr Phillips’s condition deteriorated after the operation, and he died two days later, the court was told.

Dr Miach said he believed the primary cause of death was a brain haemorrhage, but that Mr Phillips also likely suffered a heart attack.

He said he had “no doubt“ Patel’s surgery increased the chance of this occurring.

Under cross-examination by defence barrister Michael Byrne, QC, Dr Miach agreed many people were responsible for Mr Phillips’s post-operative care, but that the primary responsibility lay with Patel.

Patel, 60, has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Phillips and two other men, as well as the grievous bodily harm of another man.

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