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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 10:44 GMT
Australia 'should charge' surgeon
Jayant Patel
Mr Patel is now thought to be back in the US
An enquiry in Australia has recommended that a surgeon linked to the deaths of several patients should face manslaughter charges.

The six-month enquiry said on Wednesday that Jayant Patel was responsible for 13 deaths as a result of negligence.

It also recommended that two hospital administrators be prosecuted for hiring and promoting Mr Patel.

Australian police are seeking the extradition of Mr Patel, who is now believed to be in the US, in Oregon.

Mr Patel fled Australia in April after a senior nurse at the regional Bundaberg Base Hospital where he was working made public allegations of malpractice against him.

"As a result of negligence on the part of Dr Patel... 13 patients at the [Bundaberg] Base [Hospital] died and many others suffered adverse outcomes," the enquiry's head, Commissioner Geoff Davies, wrote in his report.

The enquiry also found that Mr Patel "knowingly misled Queensland health officials by failing to disclose his previous full work history in the United States" and repeatedly performed surgeries he had been barred from doing in the US.

Shady past

Mr Patel was educated in India and worked for 20 years in New York and Oregon, but had his medical licence withdrawn in both states.

He then moved to Australia in 2003, where he falsified his application and obtained a job as director of surgery at the rural Queensland hospital.

The report also advised that the hospital's district manager, Peter Leck, and its director of medical services, Dr Darren Keating, be prosecuted for "official misconduct".

The case has widened to become an investigation into Queensland's health system in general, following questions about how Mr Patel was able to practise in Queensland, despite being cited for previous negligence in two US states.

Gordon Nuttall resigned as Queensland's health minister over the scandal in July.

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