In 2010, physician Jayant Patel was charged with several counts of medical negligence that arose after the deaths of several patients in the hospital where he worked.
Now, the Australian court has sentenced Mr Patel to two years in jail for his acts. However, considering he has already spent 788 days in jail since being convicted of medical negligence in 2010, the court stated that his sentence has been "wholly suspended".
In other words, Mr Patel is free to return to the US, where he lived before moving to Australia.
However, the implications of Mr Patel's sentencing are still significant and serve as a reminder of the prevalence of medical negligence around the world.
In the ruling, the Brisbane District Court said Mr Patel would be sentenced for fraudulently registering as a physician in Queensland. He then allegedly failed to tell state health officials about his past run-in with medical negligence prior to moving to the US.
An end to 'Dr Death's' run
The ruling brings a long medical negligence trial to an end, which started when Mr Patel was accused in 2005 of botching operations, misdiagnosing patients and not using best practices during surgeries.
At this point, he resigned and fled to the US, where he was arrested and extradited back to Australia in 2008. After he was convicted for connections to the deaths of three patients, he was jailed for more than two years.
In his time as a surgeon, he earned the name "Dr Death" not just by those who had filed medical negligence claims against him, but even his colleagues. In his tenure he was the subject of three medical negligence trials that cost a total of $3.5 million.
What could be even more startling about Mr Patel is the number of deaths he is linked to that never became official trials. In all, the public has inquired about 87 deaths that could possibly have been linked to the doctor's gross negligence.
Mr Patel's case is certainly shocking, but most of the time medical negligence claims go unreported, and it isn't uncommon for hospitals to keep records of such instances from the public.
If you believe you or a family member may have been a victim of medical negligence, it's important to speak to experienced medical negligence lawyers to learn what your options are.