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Patel in 'high spirits' after spending first day in jail

India-born surgeon Jayant Patel, facing charges of manslaughter and negligence for the death of 17 of his patients in Australia, has been reported in "high spirits" after spending his first day in a US jail.

world Updated: Mar 13, 2008 10:51 IST

India-born surgeon Jayant Patel, facing charges of manslaughter and negligence for the death of 17 of his patients in Australia, has been reported in "high spirits" after spending his first day in a US jail.

"When FBI officials knocked the door, he did not resist or argue, he stayed calm and he went with them, and you could say he was relieved in a way, because all the waiting for these two years for that knock to come, it takes its toll," family friend Vijay Mehta, a Texas-based surgeon was quoted as saying in 'The Australian' today.

Mehta said: "He is actually in good spirits, his wife told me, because finally now he can have his day in court."

Dubbed as 'Dr Death', Patel, was arrested on Wednesday by FBI at his home in the US state of Oregon and faces life imprisonment if convicted.

He was ordered held by Portland Judge Dennis Hubel, pending a bail hearing on Friday and will face an extradition hearing on April 10.

Australian authorities are seeking his extradition to face 16 charges, including three of manslaughter, stemming from the dozens of allegedly botched surgery procedures he performed on patients at Bundaberg Base Hospital in Queensland from 2003 to 2005.

Judy Kemps, whose late husband was one of Patel's alleged victims at Bundaberg Base hospital, was quoted as saying: "I am on such a high, the burden has just fallen off, the pressure is off."

Toni Hoffman, the nurse who first brought Patel's conduct to public attention, said, however, it was too early for celebrations.

"We won't rest, myself and the patient support group and the people who are involved in this, until someone has been held accountable, meaning Patel," she said.