Deadly Healthcare

by James Dunbar, Prasuna Reddy,

Rogue surgeons, overburdened hospitals, medical mismanagement, doctor shortages.

The story of Australia’s own “Dr Death”, Jayant Patel, is symptomatic of a tidal wave heading towards all modern healthcare systems. In this absorbing book, the authors have ploughed through the mass of public inquiry data, interviewing key figures in the affair to reveal in gripping detail how it happened, who was to blame, and how it can be avoided. Drawing on international cases and experiences, they reveal how institutional weaknesses are able to be exploited by individuals with serious personality problems. Hospitals worldwide are facing increasing  pressures from staff shortages and the need to manage financial considerations that impact directly their ability to adequately manage patient care. This is a story relevant and timely for all who are a part of a modern complex healthcare network, from hospital administrators to doctors, nurses, ancillary staff and the patients themselves. The case of Bundaberg Hospital and its infamous “Dr Death” could be happening again right now in your own modern overburdened healthcare system.

  • Australian Academic Press; March 2011
  • ISBN 9781921513763
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Deadly Healthcare
  • Author: James Dunbar; Prasuna Reddy; Stephen May
  • Imprint: Australian Academic Press

In The Press

A thoroughly enjoyable read. With fascinating detail the authors clearly demonstrate the thin veneer covering all healthcare systems. There are lessons to be learned from this case by all countries. — Sir Graeme Catto, FRCP, FMedSci, FRSE, Immediate past president of the General Medical Council and Professor of Medicine, University of Aberdeen.

This well-researched and racily written account is a cautionary tale about what can happen in the crunch of tight budgets, staff shortages and purblind hospital administrations. The risks of another Patel will increase unless the lessons from this case are well learned. It is an essential and riveting read. — Dr Denis Muller, Visiting Fellow, Centre for Public Policy University of Melbourne and former Associate Editor, The Age, Melbourne.

Drawing on the disciplines of medicine and psychology, this insightful and compelling story examines Patel’s personal narrative as well as the political and professional environment which led to the Bundaberg Hospital becoming an accident waiting to happen. — Associate Professor Kerry Petersen, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

This book should be regularly read by every clinician, hospital executive and above all every health bureaucrat, to remind them of what can occur when standards of quality and safety in patient care are compromised. — Prof Alan Wolff, Director of Medical Services, Wimmera Health Care Group, Horsham, Australia.

About The Author

Professor James Dunbar (MD, FRCPEdin, FRCGP, FRACGP, FFPHM) is the inaugural Director of the Greater Green Triangle University Department of Rural Health, Flinders and Deakin Universities, Australia. In his former post of Medical Director of Borders Primary Care NHS Trust in Scotland, he won the Golden Phoenix Award – the primary award for improvement in health care in the UK.

Professor Prasuna Reddy (PhD, MAPS) is Chair of Rural Mental Health Flinders University, and Director of Research, Greater Green Triangle University Department of Rural Health. She is a practising health and organisational psychologist and also currently Director of Training for Life! Taking Action on Diabetes a joint initiative of the Victorian Government and Diabetes Australia – Victoria.

Stephen May (BSc Hons) originally trained as a psychologist, but left the profession to establish his own publishing company. He has edited an extensive range of scientific and professional texts as well as writing for newspapers on psychological topics. He is currently President of the Australian Publishers Association.