Bundy 'not suited' for big surgery

A SURGEON who worked at Bundaberg Hospital would not perform a type of operation that Jayant Patel undertook there, a court heard yesterday.

Patel, 59, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of manslaughter and one grievous bodily harm offence in Brisbane Supreme Court.

It has been alleged the former director of surgery botched four operations at Bundaberg Hospital between 2003 and 2005, causing the deaths of James Phillips, Mervyn Morris, Gerry Kemps and the permanent injury of Ian Vowles.

Dr Laksham Jayasekera, a former staff surgeon at Bundaberg Hospital, told the Court during the third day of Patel’s trial that if patients were transferred from Bundaberg Hospital to Brisbane the regional hospital would lose funding for those patients.

The court was told earlier in the trial that Patel performed oesophagectomies on Mr Kemps, Mr Phillips and James Grave at the Bundaberg Hospital.

Dr Jayasekera said yesterday he would not perform that type of surgery at the hospital.

Earlier in the day, the court heard there was financial incentive for Bundaberg Hospital to perform elective surgeries and meet government targets.

During the testimony of Karen Smith, the elective surgery co-ordinator of Bundaberg Hospital at the time, the court was told that, in 2003, funding could be reduced if elective surgery targets were not met.

Later in Patel’s posting more funding was made available for hospitals, following a government election.

Much of the evidence examined yesterday focused on the treatment of Mervyn Morris.

Other witnesses to take the stand included Mervyn Morris’s doctor, Dr Marthinus Nel, who treated Mr Morris from June 2000 until his death and Dr Emma Igras, who also examined Mr Morris before his alleged botched surgery.

Dr Igras was a medical intern supervised by Patel during her posting at the Bundaberg Hospital.

It has been alleged Patel operated on Morris and unnecessarily removed part of his bowel on May 23, 2003.

The start of day three of the trial was also delayed yesterday morning, as Justice John Byrne told the Supreme Court in Brisbane he had received a note from a juror who felt he couldn’t continue.

Justice John Byrne then allowed prosecutor Ross Martin and defence counsel Michael Byrne, QC, to consider the note separately.

He then decided to discharge the man as a juror and empanelled another juror from the reserve panel that had been selected on Monday.

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