The extradition process of disgraced Indian-born surgeon Jayant Patel, who has been linked to 17 deaths in Australia and has fled to the US, could begin in a few weeks' time, media reports said.
Queensland government lawyer Paul Freeburn told the Health Practitioners Tribunal in Brisbane on Monday that documents relating to the extradition would be passed to Australian federal authorities within a fortnight.
Freeburn expected the documents to be forwarded to the concerned US authorities within two weeks after that, Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Patel found himself at the centre of a medical scandal in early 2005 when he was accused of gross incompetence while working as director of surgery at Bundaberg Base Hospital in Queensland.
Patel has been linked to at least 17 deaths and dozens of injuries. He fled to the US in March 2005.
Freeburn told the tribunal that the government feared the extradition could be stalled by US courts if Patel opposed it.
A move by the Medical Board of Queensland to deregister Patel was adjourned to a later date by the tribunal.
A Queensland patient support group has been putting pressure on the state government for the past one year to extradite Patel to the country to face manslaughter charges.
The Queensland attorney-general Linda Lavarch had to resign from her post last year after she rejected a deal in June 2006 to bring Patel to Australia to face charges.