Patient's bowel 'poking out'

Jayant Patel.
Jayant Patel. AAP

ONE of Jayant Patel's patients had to go back into surgery because his bowel was “poking” out through his surgical wound, a court heard yesterday.

Patel, 59, has been accused of bungling four operations at Bundaberg Hospital between 2003 and 2005, and has denied the manslaughter of Mervyn Morris, James Phillips and Gerry Kemps, and causing grievous bodily harm to Ian Vowles.

Brisbane's Supreme Court was told Patel operated on Mr Morris, removing a part of his bowel and fitting him with a colostomy bag, on May 23, 2003.

Witness Dr Emma Igras, a former medical intern, said the patient had to go back into surgery a week after the initial sigmoid colectomy because his bowel was “poking” out through the hole made for the colostomy bag.

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, had possible liver problems and a blood infection 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 counsel Michael Byrne, QC, the doctor said when he assessed Mr Morris he did not believe he needed to be admitted to intensive care at that point.

He said Bundaberg Hospital had only had five intensive care beds and there were “criteria” in admissions that had to be adhered to.

The doctor told the court Mr Morris was stable and the blood infection was being treated with antibiotics.

Dr Chikolwa said Mr Morris had received “optimal care” in his final hours, with a team of doctors and nurses in constant communication about the state of his health.

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.

The case continues.

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