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Australia's Dr Death faces manslaughter charge

February 03, 2006 13:24 IST

An Indian American doctor dubbed as 'Doctor Death' and linked to more than 80 deaths in Australia is set to face manslaughter, assault and fraud charges following a police investigation into his alleged malpractices at a Queensland hospital.

Police in Australia's northeastern state of Queensland will give prosecutors evidence they have collected in the Dr Jayant Patel's case, state Premier Peter Beattie told reporters on Thursday.

Queensland's Director of Public Prosecutions is likely to receive a police brief next week recommending the extradition of the surgeon from the United States, a Nine Network report said.

Patel, an American citizen who last year returned to Portland, Oregon, after complaints about his surgery surfaced, is reportedly facing four manslaughter charges from his two-years at the Bundaberg hospital.

If Queensland prosecutors decide to bring charges against Patel, he could be extradited to Australia under a 1974 treaty between the two countries. Police are also expected to recommend that the DPP charge Patel with six counts of grievous bodily harm, as well as fraud amid allegations that he lied about his qualifications and US restrictions banning him from certain surgical procedures.

Patel's Brisbane lawyer, Damian Scattini, on Thursday said he was unaware that the police probe had been finalised. A Queensland police spokesman declined to comment on whether a DPP brief was imminent.

An official inquiry by former appeals court judge Geoff Davies, acting on a clinical audit headed by vascular surgeon Peter Woodruff and evidence gathered over seven months, linked Patel to the deaths of 13 patients and serious complications suffered by at least 31 others.

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