Age heightened mortality rate for operation, court hears

A PATIENT of Jayant Patel faced a higher mortality rate than normal when he underwent a surgery for diverticular disease, which was allegedly misdiagnosed, a court has heard.

Mervyn John Morris underwent surgery with Patel at the Bundaberg Base Hospital in 2003 to address rectal bleeding.

The 75-year-old died in post-operative care on June 14, 2003 - three weeks after Patel removed part of Mr Morris's sigmoid colon.

In Patel's manslaughter trial on Tuesday, defence barrister Ken Fleming said the mortality rate for the type of operation Mr Morris went under for diverticular disease was less than 2%.

Retired colorectal surgeon Dr Brian Collopy agreed but said Mr Morris's was higher because he was an older man with other medical problems.

The court has heard testing on Mr Morris's removed sigmoid colon found no source for his rectal bleeding.

But Dr Collopy confirmed that did not mean the bleeding was not coming from there.

The court heard 60% of people in the community had diverticular disease but not many would have a major bleed.

Mr Fleming asked Dr Collopy if there was a chance a re-bleed could send a patient into shock.

"If it is a second major bleed following a major bleed then yes," Dr Collopy replied.

Patel has pleaded not guilty to unlawfully killing Mr Morris.

The Crown alleges Patel misdiagnosed Mr Morris instead of recognising he had radiation proctitis, inflammation from radiation treatment Mr Morris underwent for prostate cancer.

The jury has heard Mr Morris had a checkered medical history, including heart disease, cancer, malnutrition and liver problems.

The trial in Brisbane continues.



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