Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Australia's Dubious Dr. Jayant Patel

Moving to Oregon

Map of Oregon with Portland locator
Map of Oregon with Portland locator

The following year, Patel moved to Portland, Oregon, where he found work at Kaiser Permanente Hospital. It didn't take long for problems to arise there, as well. KATU 2 News in Oregon reported that "by 1998, 79 patients or their relatives had filed complaints that he had botched operations."

The Oregon Board of Medical Examiners launched an investigation into the complaints and discovered that at least three of the 79 patients purportedly died due to Patel's gross negligence. Those patients included a 65-year-old man who died in 1994 after pancreatic surgery, an 83-year-old woman who died in 1996 after pancreatic and colon surgery and a 67-year-old man who died in 1997 after liver surgery, Nick Papps reported in The Courier-Mail. Many of those who did survive Patel's dubious operations complained that they were emotionally and physically scarred for life, including a 59-year-old man who "permanently lost gastrointestinal function in August 1997 after Dr. Patel performed a colostomy 'backwards,'" it was reported. 

It took years, but eventually Patel's license was restricted statewide in 2000. As a result, he was banned "from doing certain types of operations such as liver and pancreatic surgeries," CBS News reported. However, many questioned why his license was only restricted instead of revoked, because he had a history of malpractice.

Patel realized that he would probably never be able to practice again in the state of Oregon. In 2001, he left his position at the hospital, taking with him glowing letters of recommendation from his colleagues. He then returned to New York to practice surgery until "an April 2001 order from the New York Board for Professional Medical Conduct forced him to surrender his physician's license," Papps said. Patel's reputation as a surgeon was basically destroyed in the United States. He looked elsewhere to make a new start.

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