'Dr Death' in good spirits after first night in jail

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Sydney, Mar 13: US doctor of India origin Dr Jayant Patel, often described as "Dr Death" for his involvement in 17 cases of gross negligence resulting in deaths of patients, and who was arrested two days ago in the US, is said to be in high spirits after spending his first day in the Oregon jail.

If one of his family close aides is to be believed, Dr Patel was feeling ok as after a long wait of nearly two years he can feel relieved and face the court of law. "He is actually in good spirits, his wife told me, because finally now he can have his day in court. They have been expecting this for a long time. They didn't think the case was going to disappear. The 18 months of delay has helped them cope a little bit," the news.com.au quoted family spokesman and friend Vijay Mehta as saying. Mehta is a Texas-based surgeon.

He said the doctor was not surprised when FBI officers knocked on his door in an affluent Portland neighbourhood yesterday and arrested him.

"When they got the knock on the door, he did not resist or argue, he stayed calm and he went with them, and you could say he was relieved in a way, because all the waiting for these two years for that knock to come, it takes its toll," he added.

The family spokesman also conformed that the Indian-born US citizen was looking forward to using the US court system to fight the Australian Government's plan to extradite him. "Oh yeah. The American system is very big on protecting the civil liberties of our citizens. As a matter of fact, it is to the extent that if they have to choose between civil liberty and justice, they choose civil liberty," Dr Mehta said.

Legal experts also said that Dr Patel could argue that he will not get a fair trial, and possible appeals (from Australian government) mean his extradition to Australia could take years.

Dr Patel, 57, who is linked to the deaths of 17 former patients at Bundaberg, will appear in a Portland court on Friday, Australian time, to ask for bail. The former head of surgery at Bundaberg Base Hospital was held in the Multnomah County Detention Centre in downtown Portland overnight.


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