Parents of child settle case with ‘Dr Death’ for $200,000
WASHINGTON - The parents of a three-year-old Southeast Portland boy who died after an Indian-American doctor nicknamed ‘Dr Death’ operated on him have settled their wrongful death lawsuit for $200,000.
According to the lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court by the child’s parents, the doctor, Jayant Patel, perforated the boy’s bowel while attempting to place a feeding tube inside him Feb 5, 1999.
The suit claimed that Patel opened the boy up again the next day and found the perforation. The boy, Ian Murillo McClellan, died a painful death by septic shock eight days later, the suit stated.
Patel was working for Kaiser Permanente in Portland, but performed the surgeries at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
McClellan’s parents didn’t file a suit against Patel, Kaiser and OHSU until seven years later, claiming that they didn’t learn the reason for their son’s death until after April 15, 2005, which is when US media published the first of a series of articles about growing concern over Patel’s work here and abroad.
The suit claims that Kaiser, Patel and OHSU misled the McClellans by saying their son had developed a post-operative infection of unknown origin.
Ana Maria and Matthew McClellan will not discuss the settlement because they signed a confidentiality agreement, said their attorney, Robert Beatty-Walters. Beatty-Walters said the agreement also prevented him from commenting.
It’s not clear from court records what portion of the $200,000 will by paid by Patel, Kaiser or OHSU.
Patel was barred from practice in the US after a series of troubled surgeries while working at Kaiser Permanente in Portland from 1989 to 2001 — including surgery on Ian Murillo McClellan.
Patel soon went to work as a chief surgeon at a hospital in Australia, but problems quickly began to arise there. An Australian commission in 2005 linked Patel to the deaths of 13 patients at Bundaberg Base Hospital in Queensland, the northeastern state. He is now awaiting trial on accusations of fraud and the manslaughter of three patients.