Jayant Patel
Jayant Patel

No 'indication' to prompt decision to operate: medical expert

THERE was no "indication" to prompt Jayant Patel to operate on an elderly man who died from malnutrition and organ failure three weeks after his surgery, an expert believes.

Colorectal surgery expert Dr Rodney Woods took the witness stand in Patel's manslaughter trial for the second day on Thursday to provide his expert opinion on Patel's actions.

Patel removed part of Mervyn John Morris's sigmoid colon in 2003 after he was admitted to Bundaberg Base Hospital with rectal bleeding.

Patel has pleaded not guilty to unlawfully killing Mr Morris, who died in post-operative care.

Defence barrister Paul Smith laid out the circumstances which led to Patel's decision to operate, including concerns with Mr Morris's blood pressure, haemoglobin levels and two recent ectal bleeds.

Mr Smith put it to Dr Woods that in those circumstances, the decision to operate could not be seen to be unreasonable.

"I don't believe there was an indication for surgery at that point in time," Dr Woods replied.

Mr Smith suggested the Mr Morris's operation on May 23, 2003, was one which "reasonable lines of surgeons could differ on".

"I would disagree with that," Dr Woods said.

Dr Woods told the 15-member jury he believed surgeons should treat a patient's malnutrition before surgery.

But the Melbourne-based expert conceded if the issue was urgent, "you have to do it and, unfortunately, there is a high risk".

The trial continues.


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