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Lawsuits stacked up for 12 years

Originally Posted At:,5936,15012719%255E3102,00.html

Nick Papps in Los Angeles

DOCTOR Jayant Patel was allowed to work at a US hospital for 12 years despite his surgery leading to patient deaths, hospital payouts and several patients being permanently scarred.

New details on Dr Patel's reign of terror at a Portland, Oregon, hospital have emerged – including the fact he was sued four times for malpractice.

In one case he mistakenly severed a tube linking the kidney and bladder of 79-year-old patient Helen Brooks. Three further operations were needed to repair the botched surgery but Ms Brooks lost her kidney and died two years later.

Dr Patel and his hospital Kaiser Permanente were sued over the operation in 1996. Ms Brooks' lawyer Bernard Jolies has told US newspapers the hospital "paid us a bunch of money".

In another case, three years earlier, Dr Patel was sued after an operation for intestinal ulcers left a 28-year-old man impotent.

The man's urethra was cut in the botched procedure and a 20cm metal clamp was accidentally left inside his body.

Weeks later the man began urinating out of his rectum and after being re-admitted to hospital, the clamp was discovered and three more operations were needed to repair Dr Patel's damage.

The man's lawyer Austin Crowe told a US newspaper his client "went through hell, it was horrible".

It has also emerged that the Portland hospital at the centre of Dr Patel's malpractice activities, Kaiser Permanente, employed the doctor as a hospital surgeon from 1989 to 2001 when he resigned.

Last week The Courier-Mail revealed Dr Patel had been linked to three deaths at Kaiser. An internal review of 79 of his cases resulted in the hospital imposing restrictions on his surgical practices in June 1998.

Kaiser spokesman Jim Gersbach has refused to comment directly on the circumstances surrounding Dr Patel's departure only saying in a statement "when an unexpected outcome in patient care comes up, it triggers a quality review that can lead to additional training and supervision, restriction or practice or termination".

Restrictions on Dr Patel's practice were imposed by Oregon's Board of Medical Examiners, but not until September 2001, two years and three months after Kaiser Permanente's restrictions.

The board's executive director Kathleen Haley said the board thought by restricting rather than removing Patel's licence "they had kept the vulnerable patients from being seen by him. They felt he could still contribute in some way".

She said to remove Dr Patel's licence to practise, the board had to show "there's no way this physician could practise any medicine safely".

Queensland Newspapers

19 Tue 9:03


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