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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 10:12 GMT
Doctor held over Australia deaths
By Nick Bryant
BBC News, Sydney

Jayant Patel
Jayant Patel faces allegations of malpractice
An Indian doctor accused in connection with the deaths of three patients at an Australian hospital has been arrested in the US.

Dr Jayant Patel was taken into custody by FBI agents at his home in Oregon.

The Australian government has requested his extradition to face 16 charges relating to his work at Bundaberg Base hospital in Queensland.

The charges include three counts of manslaughter, three of grievous bodily harm and two counts of negligence.

During two years in Australia, Dr Patel treated more than 1,200 patients and 87 deaths were initially linked to his care.

At the Bundaberg Base hospital, where he was director of surgery between 2003 and 2005, he gained a reputation for poor hygiene and sloppy procedures, with nurses complaining that he failed to wash his hands between patients.

One former colleague, an infection control specialist, said Dr Patel once claimed that doctors' hands "don't have germs".

Before arriving in Australia, he had a long record of disciplinary action and malpractice lawsuits from previous periods of working in the US.

Former patients of the surgeon have expressed relief and delight at his arrest.

Each manslaughter count carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

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