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Patient's Bowel Was Sticking Out

Fri, 03/26/2010 - 6:11am

Giving evidence on the fourth day of Dr Patel's trial in Brisbane Supreme Court, Dr Emma Igras said patient Mervyn Morris was found to be suffering from the dangerous complication seven days after a colectomy performed by the Indian-born doctor.

Referring to her notes made on Mr Morris' chart on May 30, 2003, Dr Igras, who had been training as a surgeon under Dr Patel at the time, said medical staff discovered the wound had burst.

"Part of the bowel was seen to protrude from the wound, poking out through the wound," she said.

Mr Morris needed further surgery to repair the problem, she said.

Dr Nigel Chikolwa, a principal house officer at Bundaberg Base Hospital in 2003 when Dr Patel was chief surgeon, said he saw Mr Morris on the afternoon of June 13, 2004, and he had high blood pressure, was dehydrated, had jaundice, fluid on the lungs which tested positive to e-coli, a urinary tract infection and fluid in the lungs, he said.

"He was septic. I wouldn't say he was very well ... he was not a very well man," he said.

But, Dr Chikolwa said he determined Mr Morris did not need to be in the intensive care unit, which consisted of only five beds in Bundaberg Base Hospital. During the night, Mr Morris' condition declined and he was taken to the ICU suffering from respiratory distress, where he died.

Prosecutors allege surgery performed by Dr Patel on Mr Morris was dangerous and unnecessary.

Dr Patel, who turns 60 next month, has pleaded not guilty to three charges of manslaughter relating to the deaths of Mr Morris and two other patients. He also also pleaded not guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm to another patient.

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