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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 04:58 GMT
'Death' doctor arrested before op
Staffordshire General Hospital
Patricia Leighton, 51, died in 1998 at Staffordshire General Hospital
A doctor charged with killing a patient in the UK was about to take part in surgery when she was arrested.

Anaesthetist Priya Ramnath, 39, was arrested at Woodland Hills Hospital in Lufkin, Texas, after the UK sought her extradition over manslaughter charges.

She left the UK in 1998 after allegedly fatally injecting Patricia Leighton, from Staffordshire, with adrenaline.

US magistrate Judge Earl Hine will hear more evidence at a later hearing before deciding whether to grant her bail.

Early Arrest

The Lufkin Daily News reported that cardiologist Dr Julio Williams told the district court a patient was sedated and about to undergo surgery when federal deputies arrested Dr Ramnath.

Deputy Corey Britt, of the US Marshal's Office, said: "The intention was to arrest her at work before she started working.

"We got there very early and she was already in the process of being in surgery.

"We co-operated with the hospital in every way we could, keeping in mind the patient's best interest."

The judge said he did not consider the Dr Ramnath to be a danger to the community but that he would have to weigh up the risk of her fleeing.

Unlawfully killed

It is alleged mother-of-two Dr Ramnath, who is originally from India, administered the injection against the advice of colleagues when Mrs Leighton's blood pressure fell.

The patient, who was 51, from Burntwood, was undergoing treatment at Staffordshire General Hospital for an infected bunion when she died on 22 July 1998.

In 2004, a coroner ruled that she had been unlawfully killed.

The Crown Prosecution Service began extradition proceedings in 2002 following a lengthy police investigation but the case was not ready in time.

However, measures have since been ratified allowing British subjects to be extradited from the US even if the usual time limit has passed.

SEE ALSO
Doctor to 'escape' prosecution
22 Aug 04 |  Staffordshire

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