Brisbane, May 12 (ANI): Indian-origin surgeon Dr. Jayant Patel told a nurse that "the worst day of his life" at the Bundaberg Base Hospital was when he couldn't find the cause of extensive bleeding in a patient who later died, a court heard today.
Katrina Zwolak was an instrument nurse in the hospital's theatre when patient Gerry Kemps was brought back into surgery after staff raised concerns that he was bleeding excessively following an oesophagectomy by Patel.
Zwolak outlined how she had first come across Patel on the day of the operation on December 20, 2004, when she was putting her lunch away in the tea room.
Patel came in and appeared upset that there was a possibility the oesophagectomy (on Kemps) would not go ahead.
Zwolak said Patel said there were two people in the intensive care unit on ventilators who should not have been there. She told the court the oesophagectomy went ahead but she was not involved in that operation.
However, at 5.30 p.m., she was told to set up because Kemps was being brought back to theatre to investigate his bleeding.
Zwolak said when Kemps was opened there was so much blood in his abdomen cavity that nurses used kidney basins to scoop it out.
"We used kidney basin after kidney basin on the patient," the Courier Mail quoted her, as saying, adding it was over and above the blood being taken out by the suction unit.
She said it was not apparent where the blood was coming from.
Zwolak said Patel had said the bleeding was not caused by his earlier surgery.
"He (Patel) yelled to get the family. When he couldn't get hold of the family he was yelling again..... when we got hold of the family he left to talk to them," she said.
Zwolak said she overheard Patel tell the junior doctors to "keep tight lipped".
Later, Zwolak was in the room where staff cleaned up after surgery and Patel was there.
"He said it was the worst day of his life. I couldn't communicate with him, he was too upset," Zwolak said.
Patel, 60, has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of the patient Kemps, 77, in December 2004.
He has also pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter James Phillips, 46, and Mervyn Morris, 75, and causing grievous bodily harm to Ian Rodney Vowles, 62, on various dates between March 2003 and April 2005.
The trial continues. (ANI)