US Doc Faces Charges in 13 Aussie Deaths

Manslaughter hearings set against former surgery boss
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User
Posted Feb 8, 2009 4:56 AM CST
The wife of Dr. Jayant Patel, Kishoree Patel, center, is surrounded by family, supporters and attorneys following a hearing in the US District Court in Portland, Ore., last year.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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(Newser) – An American doctor faces charges of negligence and manslaughter in 13 patient deaths in an Australian hospital, AP reports. Dr. Jayant Patel, former head of surgery in a state-run Queensland hospital, failed to disclose disciplinary measures taken against him by medical boards in both New York and Oregon. Patel faces a life sentence if convicted of the charges against him, which include three counts of manslaughter.

The "unacceptable level of care" on Patel's watch contributed directly to patient deaths, according to government documents. In one case, a woman's surgical wound fell apart, exposing her intestines. In another, a major blood vessel to a man's heart was cut during a basic procedure, causing him to bleed to death, according to authorities. Patel was extradited from his Oregon home for the hearings in Australia.