‘Dr Death’ Patel’s extradition deadline will be met

June 30th, 2008 - 10:27 am ICT by IANS  

By Neena Bhandari
Sydney, June 30 (IANS) Queensland province premier is certain Australian authorities will meet the deadline set by a US court for the extradition of Jayant “Dr Death” Patel, who will face charges for 16 offences, including manslaughter, grievous bodily harm and fraud, relating to his employment as director of surgery at regional Bundaberg Base Hospital in Queensland between 2003 and 2005. “The commonwealth government’s prosecutor has carriage of this case. I have no doubt that they will be doing everything they can to ensure that we meet the deadline that the courts have imposed in the US,” Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told reporters Monday.

Judge Dennis Hubel of the district court in Portland, Oregon, has said Patel would be released from jail if not handed over to the Australian Federal Police by July 21.

“I will be seeing the prime minister in a couple of days time. We’ll be meeting for COAG (Council of Australian Governments). He and I will have an opportunity to talk face-to-face about the Jayant Patel issue,” Bligh said.

The Indian born, US citizen, Patel late last week voluntarily agreed to his extradition to stand trial in Australia.

Earlier, Judge Hubel had said: “I’m concerned whether the Australian government will act within a few days considering how long they took to initiate anything.”

The news of Patel’s return to stand trial in Australia has brought much relief for his former patients and their families.

Dubbed as “Dr Death” by the Australian media, Patel’s case is probably the worst medical-negligence scandal in Australia. He allegedly falsified his application to practise medicine in Australia and then falsified death certificates and refused patients’ transfers to other hospitals to cover up “botched treatment and surgery”.

Patel, banned from surgery in two US states, was employed at the regional Bundaberg Base hospital for 200,000 Australian dollars per annum in 2003. In late 2003, he was promoted to director of surgery at the hospital.

On April 1, 2005, Patel’s bosses signed on a $3547 business-class, one-way airfare for him to travel to the US, despite him being neck-deep in accusations of fatal incompetence.

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