'Dr. Death' 'screamed' at nurse for going behind his back to speak to patient's family

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Brisbane, Apr.29 (ANI): Indian origin surgeon Jayant Patel threatened to quit and leave the Bundaberg Base Hospital after staff spoke to the family of a critically ill patient, the Supreme Court in Brisbane heard on Wednesday.

According to The Age, Alison Cooper, an intensive care nurse at Bundaberg in 2003, told the court via telephone from the USA where she now lives, that she came on shift at 7 a.m. and found Phillips's hands and toes cold to touch. She also said that she could get no reaction when shining a light into his eye pupils.

She said she contacted Dr (Martin) Carter, the head of the ICU, when Phillips's heart rate went up and his blood pressure went down as she needed direction on what drugs to give Phillips.

Cooper told the court she had tried on numerous occasions to contact Patel but had been unable to do so.

However, Patel had come into the ICU and ordered a procedure to regulate Phillips's heart rate.

She told prosecutor David Meredith she could remember a conversation between Carter, Patel and herself about Phillips's condition.

"Dr Carter and I asked Patel that maybe with Phillips's prognosis - he was on maximum adrenalin and not reacting - his next of kin should be advised of the situation," she recalled.

Meredith asked what Patel had said.

"I remember. He said 'no way', he is going to get up and walk out of here," Cooper replied.he could remember Carter speaking with Phillip's mother at some stage and also Patel coming into the ICU and screaming at her in the utlility room.

"He said he had been approached by Phillips's family in the hospital foyer near the coffee shop. They had discussed Phillips's poor prognosis. Patel came up to me and got literally six inches in front of my face. He screamed in my face, everyone in the unit could hear," she said.

Cooper said Patel was upset the nurses had "gone behind his back" and he was embarrassed by being approached by Mrs Phillips.

He threatened to leave the hospital if "they" kept going behind his back.

"Patel said the hospital would be stuffed because it would be losing an exceptionally talented surgeon," Cooper said.

In cross examination Michael Woodford, for Patel, put it to Cooper there had been no conversation about Phillips's condition between Patel, Carter and herself.

"No. I was standing right there. I reject that," Cooper replied.

She told Mr Woodford she was clear in her mind that Carter had been present during the conversation.

Mr Woodford suggested to Cooper that Patel did have a conversation about the family being contacted but Patel arrived in the ICU with Mrs Phillips with him.

"No he did not have Mrs Phillips with him at that time," she replied.

Cooper rejected a suggestion that Patel had yelled at her.

She denied there was any personality clash with Patel but rather the nurses were concerned about what was going on in the ICU in terms of the operations being performed. (ANI)

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