The family of a 3-year old Portland, Oregon boy who died following a surgical error, has settled their medical malpractice lawsuit against Kaiser Permanente and a doctor who is under investigation for leaving a trail of medical mistakes and deaths from the U.S. to Australia.
The Kaiser Permanente lawsuit, filed by the parents of Ian Murillo McClellan, charged Dr. Jayant Patel with medical malpractice and negligence that led to their son’s death in 1999. Patel allegedly perforated the boy’s bowel while putting a feeding tube inside of him on Feb. 5, 1999.
Although Patel later performed surgery to correct the problem, the child died of septic shock a short time later. The wrongful death lawsuit charged that Kaiser Permanente, Patel and OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital provided negligent medical treatment and lied to the parents, saying the boy died of an infection of unknown origin.
Patel, who worked at Kaiser Permanente in Portland from 1989 to 2001, has been tied to a number of surgical mistakes at Kaiser Permanente, many of which did not come to light until The Oregonian did a special report on Patel in 2005.
Patel was a respected Kaiser Permanente doctor for more than a decade. He trained young surgeons and was voted “Distinguished Physician of the Year” in 1995 by his fellow doctors. But he also had a history of botched operations that possibly contributed to the deaths of four patients.
In 1998, Kaiser Permanente put him on a plan to improve his performance, requiring him to enroll in courses and get second opinions before operating. In 2000, the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners restricted him from performing complex surgical procedures due to negligence.
Patel subsequently applied for, and was hired to, the chief surgeon position at Bundaberg Base Hospital in Queensland, Australia in 2002. He did not disclose his medical malpractice history in Oregon to the hospital and an Australian commission has connected Patel to the deaths of 13 patients. Patel is currently awaiting trial in Australia, facing charges of fraud and the manslaughter of three patients.
According to a recent report in The Orgonian, the Kaiser Permanente malpractice lawsuit was settled for $200,000 and it is unclear how payment will be divided between Kaiser, Patel and OHSU.