By RxPG News Service, [RxPG] Sydney, Nov 26 - Disgraced Indian-born surgeon Jayant Patel, wanted in Australia for manslaughter, is merely a scapegoat, a Queensland investigator who first probed his work has said.
Bundaberg hospital inquiry commissioner Tony Morris QC, who was a guest speaker at the Whistleblowers Australia conference in Brisbane last week, slammed the Queensland health administration, according to Australia's news.com.
Patel found himself at the centre of a medical scandal in early 2005 when he was accused of gross incompetence while working as director of surgery at the Bundaberg Base Hospital in Queensland. He was linked to at least 17 deaths and dozens of injuries.
'In a strange sort of way he is almost a distraction,' Morris was quoted as saying.
The high profile barrister criticised the Queensland health department for not implementing real reforms since the Bundaberg crisis and said the bureaucracy was actively obstructing every attempt to do so.
'Perhaps the enduring tragedy of Jayant Patel is... he has become a scapegoat for everything that is wrong in the Queensland health department. Patel is not, and never was, the problem,' he said.
Morris was ousted as the inquiry's head after displaying 'ostensible bias' against the Bundaberg Hospital's managers.
Last week, the Queensland police initiated the process of extraditing Patel, dubbed as Dr. Death by the media, from the US.
Morris singled out the Bundaberg Hospital nurse Toni Hoffman for her blowing the whistle on Patel.
Incidentally, Hoffman has been chosen for the Whistleblower of the Year Award.