In a move which could speed up the extradition of India-born surgeon Jayant Patel from the US to face manslaughter charges in Australia, one of the 14 charges against him has been dropped.
The removal of a "grievous bodily harm and negligent acts or omissions" charge related to an alleged bungled operation on a Queensland cancer patient is believed to have followed a request from the US State Department, according to AAP reports in Melbourne.
According to the new order Patel will only be extradited to Australia on 13 charges. It has been unclear why one charge was dropped while other remained.
The move came after a hastily arranged hearing in US on Wednesday morning by US District Court Judge Dennis Hubel, who has presided over Patel's three-month extradition case.
Patel, 58, Dubbed as 'Dr Death' by Australian media is to face trial in the country over the deaths of three patients at Bundaberg Base Hospital in Queensland between 2003 and 2005, when he was director of surgery, before he fled to Oregon.
The US State Department, one of the final obstacles to Patel being extradited, has been examining Queensland authorities' case against Patel.
Without Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's approval, Patel cannot be handed over to the two Queensland detectives who arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday to take him back to Brisbane where he is expected to face trial.