Former Bundaberg Hospital surgeon Jayant Patel has been acquitted of the manslaughter of Mervyn Morris.
Former Bundaberg Hospital surgeon Jayant Patel has been acquitted of the manslaughter of Mervyn Morris.

Patel patients' shock at not guilty verdict

PATIENTS and relatives have reacted with shock after learning former Bundaberg Hospital surgeon Jayant Patel had walked free today.

A jury acquitted Dr Patel of the manslaughter of Mervyn Morris, who died in 2003 after the surgeon removed part of his colon.

Judy Kemps, whose husband Gerry died after being operated on by Dr Patel, said the decision was very upsetting for her.

"I don't feel very happy," she said.

"I feel really the justice system has let us down."

Mrs Kemps said the case was an "ongoing saga" that she hoped she had put behind her, and the latest retrial had dredged up a lot of old pain.

Patient advocate Beryl Crosby, herself a former patient of Patel, said she was "absolutely devastated" at the verdict.

"I am still in shock," she told the NewsMail. 

"But I actually don't hold the jury responsible here. They made the decision based on the evidence that was admissible in court."

Mrs Crosby was hopeful further manslaughter and grievous bodily harm cases for which Patel had been charged would still go ahead.

"My thoughts right now are with Mervyn (Morris's) family, but there will be a lot of patients and families that will be rocked by this news," she said.

Marilyn Gregory, on whom Dr Patel operated in 2003, said she believed the verdict was a "travesty of justice".

Mrs Gregory said her life had been "completely and utterly ruined" since the surgery to remove her gall bladder in 2003 went horribly wrong.

"He cut into my liver and spilt gall stones into my entire abdomen," she said.

Mrs Gregory said another doctor later found about 100 gall stones that had been left inside her.

The operation has left her virtually housebound and bedridden.

Mrs Gregory said the surgery outcome had also affected her husband and extended family.

"It's affected my husband's life because we used to do everything together," she said.

"I can't sit for long periods of time in the car."

Mrs Gregory said she also felt a huge amount of money had been wasted on the case so far.

"Why couldn't that have been put back into Queensland Health?" she said.

Fellow patient Ian Vowles declined to comment because he is the subject of a grievous bodily harm charge against Dr Patel, which may yet be prosecuted.