Justice done in Jayant Patel Case?
In 1988, Patel moved to Oregon and gained employment performing surgeries again after showing various hospitals glowing references. What followed was a horrific string of botched surgeries, resulting in numerous patients deaths, and in one case, a man almost losing his bowel due to a surgery "done backwards". In 2000, "Dr. Death", as he soon began to be called, was fired from the hospital at which he worked and he was disciplined by the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners. In 2001, Patel was forced to surrender his New York State medical license.
In 2003, Patel again began to perform surgeries in Bundaberg, Australia after he again gave employers glowing references. Again, Patel left death, and injury in his wake. Four patients, in a showing of horrific and gross malpractice on Patel's part, died, and a healthy man was disembowled. Patel fled to the United States in 2004, but was extradited back to Australia in 2008 to face three charges of manslaughter, five charges of causing grievous bodily harm, four negligent acts causing harm, and eight charges of fraud. After pleading not guilty, he stood trial and was convicted on June 29, 2010.
Finally, the family members of the deceased, and Patel's victims can see that some justice has been done! I congratulate the Australian prosecutors on a job well-done in getting a conviction in this case. However, was it enough? It is extremely disturbing that it took so long for Patel to be criminally punished, and that he was never criminally punished in the United States. Furthermore, his sentence seems extremely lenient in comparison to the horrific nature of his crimes. What do you think? Should he have been sentenced more harshly?
This case should serve as a warning to patients, hospital, and their administrators to always check out your doctors' credentials. Always check to see if your physician has been sanctioned or otherwise disciplined by your State's Board, and be wary of doctors that seem to have done a lot of traveling between states. Always try and get a reliable reference for your doctors whether you are a hospital or a patient. NEVER take one glowing reference as surefire evidence of his or her competence.