'Dr. Death' Patel threatened to quit when patient transfer was arranged

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Brisbane, Apr.30 (ANI): Brisbane's Supreme Court has been told that controversial Indian origin surgeon Dr. Jayant Patel went purple with rage when a dangerously ill patient was transferred from the Bundaberg Hospital to Brisbane.

The court was told that he told a junior doctor that he would leave the hospital if the transfer of the patient took place, forcing medical staff to reconsider.

This information came out as the crown (prosecution) presented leading evidence about an operation on James Grave, even though Patel is not facing any charge involving his surgery.

Prosecutor Ross Martin told the court it was important the jury heard evidence about Mr Grave, who had oesophageal cancer, because the case was a "warning" to Patel to not perform the complex oesophagectomy operation, reports The Courier Mail.

The court was told that Grave was diagnosed with oesophagectomy on early June 6, 2003, but deteriorated and was eventually transferred to Brisbane.

Dr Carl Kennedy said he was in his second year as a doctor at the Bundaberg Hospital when Grave was a patient in the intensive care unit.

He said, as a junior, rather than having input into the treatment of patients, he would follow instructions from senior medical staff.

Dr Kennedy explained that Patel had recorded several times that Grave was improving and, by June 12, after six days in the ICU, Patel made a note that Grave was doing very well after surgery to repair his operation wound.

Dr Kennedy said that, after 11 days in the intensive care unit, Grave was not doing very well. He had had two further operations on a seeping wound and twice had tubes inserted to drain off excess fluid.

"I thought as a junior house officer, (Mr) Grave was getting sicker and needed much more support. He needed to go to Brisbane where there were much more facilities and where they were able to deal with such patients," he said.

Dr Kennedy said he understood the Bundaberg ICU was only for short-term patients and Grave had been there for much longer.

"It wasn't a case where it was staff could no longer do for this gentleman. It looked as though he would need long-term ventilation and support of his heart. It was a more complicated case than Bundaberg would normally handle," he added.

Dr Kennedy said there was always a risk such patients might not receive the degree of care they could at larger centres.

He said he took administrative steps to have Grave moved and he found a bed for him at the (then) Royal Brisbane Hospital..

However, Patel found out and confronted Dr Kennedy.

"He was quite upset that the patient was going and said to me: 'If that patient leaves, then I leave the hospital," Dr Kenendy said.

After discussions between senior staff it was decided to keep Grave at Bundaberg for a further 24 hours.

Patel, 60, has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Phillips, 46, Mervyn Morris, 75, and Geradus Wihelmus Gosewinus Kemps, 77, and causing grievous bodily harm to Ian Rodney Vowles, 62, on various dates between March 2003 and April 2005.

Grave eventually recovered in the ICU at the Brisbane's Mater Hospital before being returned to the Bundaberg Hospital where he was eventually discharged. He died in January 2004.

The trial continues. (ANI)

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