Asia-Pacific

US 'Doctor Death' guilty of manslaughter in Australia

Jayant Patel arrives at the Supreme Court (26 June)
Image caption Patel worked as a surgeon at a Queensland hospital

A US surgeon, dubbed "Doctor Death" by Australian media, has been found guilty of the manslaughter of three patients in his care in Australia.

Jayant Patel, an Indian-born US citizen, worked at a Queensland hospital between 2003 and 2005.

He was also convicted of grievous bodily harm against a fourth patient. Patel will be sentenced on Thursday.

Before arriving in Australia, Patel had been banned from conducting surgery in the US states of New York and Oregon.

The 12-man jury at the Brisbane Supreme Court reached their decision after about 50 hours of deliberation.

During the 14-week trial, the court heard that Patel had botched operations, misdiagnosed patients, removed healthy organs and used sloppy surgical techniques during his time at Bundaberg Base Hospital.

Nurses used to hide patients from him, because of their concerns about the quality of his work, the court heard.

One of his patients died having had his bowel removed unnecessarily.

Wider concerns

Patel had pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Gerry Kemps, James Phillips, and Mervyn Morris, and causing grievous bodily harm to Ian Vowles.

Prosecutors argued that Patel's operations were well below the standard of a competent surgeon.

The 60-year-old's defence team claimed throughout the trial that he acted in the interests of his patients.

His wife left the court in tears as her husband was led from the dock to the cells, Australian media reported.

The BBC's Nick Bryant in Sydney says the Australian health system is heavily reliant on foreign doctors.

The highly-publicised case has raised wider concerns in the community about their qualifications and competency, our correspondent says.

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