Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Australia's Dubious Dr. Jayant Patel

Hoffman's Campaign

Tina Hoffman's problems with Patel began just a few months after he was hired, when she realized that the post-operation complication rate of his patients was extremely high. Hoffman complained to hospital management about his questionable procedures and their effect on patients but nothing happened. Surprisingly, "she kept complaining and was admonished for being racist or for not being able to manage Patel's 'difficult' personality," Chandler said. Regardless, Hoffman continued to file grievances against Patel.

Bramich's death brought things to a head. Davies suggested that Hoffman was so angered that Patel was getting away with gross misconduct that "she rang everyone she could think of: the Queensland Nurses Union, the coroner, the police and her immediate superior to request an urgent meeting" to stop Patel from practicing. Once again her pleas were ignored.

Dr. Darren Keating
Dr. Darren Keating

Frustrated but still very determined, Hoffman continued filing reports and sending letters, hoping that someone would take action. One of the letters she wrote was to Peter Leck, the district manager at the state health department, Queensland Health, in which she detailed 14 possible cases of malpractice. Finally, in February 2005 she got the response she was hoping for: Queensland Health began an investigation into Patel. The following month, National Party Member Rob Messenger also presented the problem of Patel to the Queensland Parliament, hoping to drum up even more support to delve further into the matter. On April 19, Premier Peter Beattie agreed to launch a Commission of Inquiry, but by that time, Patel was long gone.

Just as the scandal was beginning to publicly unfold, Patel resigned from his position at the hospital. Before Patel left, Bundaberg Base Hospital's director of medical services, Dr. Darren Keating, praised him for his work and gave him a "glowing" letter of endorsement, AAP General News reported. Moreover, the hospital's district manager, Peter Leck, paid $3,500 for Patel's one-way business class ticket to America, including accommodation expenses the day after his resignation, it was further reported. With ticket and recommendation in hand, Patel departed from Australia on April 1, leaving hundreds of traumatized and angry patients in his wake.

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