COPY-Local Doctor Remains in Custody

by Jessica Cervantez

The Lufkin doctor arrested last week for manslaughter charges relating to the death of one of her patients in the United Kingdom, was back in court Monday afternoon.

Local heart surgeons, her husband, family and friends from the Indian community walked through the federal courthouse doors in downtown Lufkin in support of Dr. Priya Ramnath.

Amrat Rowjee, Dr. Ramnath's friend, said, "I am here just to support her because since we met her she hasn't been a person that would be involved in something like this.  I stronlgy believe she's been honest all along up to today."

Kiran Patel, another friend, said, "The allegation I cannot speak of.  As a person, she is a fabulous person I've known her since she came into Lufkin.  Until proven guilty you can't judge a person.  she's a very family person, she's a good doctor."

Dr. Ramnath's family and colleagues were saddened to see the doctor walk in the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit, shackles around her wrists and ankles, and tears filling her eyes, during the status hearing.

Judge Earl Hines addressed the court by saying, "This is a rare and unusual type of procedure. Dr. Ramnath has been charged with a felony offense of involuntary manslaugther in the United Kingdom."

Al Charanza, Ramnath's lawyer, told the court that his client is having a difficult time in jail, where she's been since Friday. It could take months before she's extradited. He hopes to see her out on bail before the extradition hearing.

Charanza said, "We were able to set-up a schedule with the judge and look for the future to obtain the release of Dr. Ramnath.  I was pleased with what status we could make and what progress we could make today."

Ramanth will remain in custody until her next detention hearing on December 18th. In extradition cases, the judge said the suspect almost "always" remains in custody until they are extradited. Only under special circumstances does this change. Now, it's up to the attorney to prove that this is a special circumstance.