‘Dr Death’ sentenced to seven years’ jail

Rogue surgeon Jayant Patel has been sentenced to seven years’ jail.

The man once dubbed Dr Death was convicted on Tuesday of the manslaughter of Mervyn Morris, Gerardus Kemps and James Phillips.

The Brisbane Supreme Court jury also found him guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to Ian Vowles.

The charges all relate to Patel’s time as director of surgery at the Bundaberg Base Hospital between 2003 and 2005.

In sentencing Patel, Justice John Byrne said he took into account the “overall criminality involved in all the offending”.

He sentenced Patel to seven years’ jail for each of the manslaughter charges, and three years for grievous bodily harm.

The sentences are to be served concurrently, and Patel will be eligible for parole after serving three-and-a-half years.

Justice Byrne was critical of Patel’s decision to go ahead with the fatal operations when he’d previously been disciplined for “gross negligence” in the United States.

An order made in Oregon in 2000 restricted Patel from performing major operations like the ones he was undertaking in Bundaberg without seeking a second opinion.

The order did not affect Patel’s ability to legally work in Queensland, however he still hid his past from his employers, his colleagues and his patients.

“The order for your surgical misadventures in Oregon gave very good reason to reflect before commending surgery to patients in Bundaberg … yet you told no one about the order,” Justice Byrne said.

“Three lives were lost and Mr Vowles will suffer for the rest of his life.

“The community denounces your repeated serious disregard for the welfare of the four patients.”

A former patient says the sentence the icing on the cake.

Beryl Crosby, who is also an advocate for patients who suffered at the hands of the former Bundaberg surgeon, said she was thrilled to know he had been sentenced to seven years in jail for his crimes.

“I’m glad he got something. I’m glad he got at least seven years,” Ms Crosby told AAP.

“When we got the guilty verdict it was enough for a lot of people. The fact that he’s going to do time, that will help a lot.”

Patel patient Linda Parsons, who endured a botched hernia operation, said she was overjoyed with the sentence, but it was the guilty verdict that mattered most.

“I wasn’t never concerned with how long he got. I was after the guilty verdict,” she said.

“I just feel like five years of my life has been lifted away and I feel very teary right now.”

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