Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Australia's Dubious Dr. Jayant Patel


Dr. Miach, who helped treat Marilyn Daisy, was also called to testify at the inquiry into Patel. Miach simply refused to allow Patel to treat his patients because he was so incompetent. An example of Patel's ineptitude involved the case of a patient named James Edward Phillips, who had cancer of the esophagus and required an operation. Many doctors at the hospital refused to operate on him because the hospital was not well-equipped to perform the procedure. However, that didn't seem to faze Patel, who decided to go ahead with the operation anyway. After the surgery, which involved the partial removal of Phillips's esophagus, complications set in almost immediately. Five days later, Phillips died. Foley quoted Miach, who testified that the operation was "fraught with danger" and that he would have been very surprised if (the patient) would have survived."

Phillips' case was just one of many that deeply concerned Miach. Many who worked with him believed that Patel just didn't have the ability to perform such complicated operations. Miach told the inquiry that when he complained to hospital management about Patel he was ignored, which prompted him to go directly to Dr. Keating about the matter. During a meeting between the two, Miach vented his frustrations about the problems he had with how the situation was being handled. According to Chandler, Keating said, "You have to understand this is a business," whereby Miach responded, "That's the problem. I think it's a hospital."

At a later point during the inquiry, Morris questioned Peter Leck about a series of systematic failures concerning Patel, beginning with his hiring and ending with his resignation. Leck admitted that he failed to check Patel's surgeon's qualifications at the time he was hired on at the hospital. If he had conducted a more thorough background check, he would have certainly found out that Patel was banned from practicing medicine in New York and Oregon.

Morris chastised Leck for failing to investigate Patel's qualifications and for not responding to complaints made by hospital staff. Instead of taking full responsibility, Leck pointed much of the blame at Dr. Keating. Chandler quoted Leck saying, "It's not my role... it's the role of the director of medical services." When confronted about arranging payment for Patel's flight from Australia, Leck couldn't remember because it was "not of specific significance," it was further reported. 

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