Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Australia's Dubious Dr. Jayant Patel

Devastated Lives

Marilyn Daisy
Marilyn Daisy

Marilyn Daisy claimed that her life was forever changed after Patel performed an operation on her at Bundaberg Base Hospital, in which he removed one of her legs. Marilyn, 44, first came into contact with Patel after seeking treatment for diabetes and kidney failure. As a result of her condition, she developed gangrene in two of her toes, which Patel later amputated, Greg Chapman stated in the Bundaberg Region News Mail.

Several months later, gangrene further developed in Marilyn's left leg. Patel decided to amputate the limb just below her knee. When he was finished with the operation, she said he simply abandoned her.

Chapman quoted the hospital's director of medicine and renal specialist, Dr. Peter Miach, who said Patel "left her in bed in the ward for days, just forgot about her," even though she suffered trauma from the loss of her leg and also required constant management for her kidney failure. Miach also stated in the article that when he went to check on her she was "semi-comatose....laying in bed hardly responding." Luckily, she later regained full consciousness, but the damage was already done.

The amputation coupled with the neglect was almost too much to handle. Marilyn's trauma was further compounded when she learned of her mother's death while recovering in the hospital. Just when things couldn't get any worse, they did.

About six weeks after Marilyn's operation, it was discovered that no one bothered to remove the stitches binding her wounds from the amputation. This caused further infection and severe scarring around her stump. It was so bad that doctors contemplated removing even more of her leg after the initial amputation, BBC News reported. Thus far, they have not yet had to resort to such drastic measures. Marilyn had already gone through too much emotional and physical suffering. Unfortunately, she was not alone.

Some of Patel's other patients and their families began to come forward to vent their anger about his purported gross misconduct. Davies reported that a 15-year boy "lost his leg after Patel tied off an artery and forgot about it." In another case, a woman's life support system was turned off because Patel allegedly wanted to use her bed to operate on another patient, according to a CNN article. Yet another instance concerned Patel performing heart surgery on a patient who was not anaesthetized. The young man's shrill screams filled the operating theatre and shocked nurses and doctors in attendance. These patients are just a few of a more than a thousand treated by Patel who   have been interviewed during the investigation.

Most of Patel's patients who managed to survive his scalpel are initiating a class-action medical malpractice lawsuit against Patel and the hospital that employed him. They are outraged that he was allowed to perform operations despite his record and the deaths of so many patients. It is likely to be the largest case of its kind in Australia's history.

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