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Doctor facing hearing over use of painkilling drugs

25 August 2009

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A doctor who injected a patient with six times the correct dose of painkiller is facing a Fitness to Practise hearing in relation to four patients who he treated with painkilling drugs.

Dr Michael Stevenson, 57, from Bootle, near Millom, was working for the out-of-hours GP service Cuedoc when he issued a fatal 30mg dose of diamorphine instead of 5mg to Marjorie Wright, 58, in January 2005. After accidentally giving the wrong dosage he failed to monitor her reaction to the drug and left to do another call.

She was later found dead by police, but within an hour of visiting the grandmother Dr Stevenson administered a similar overdose to another patient.

A General Medical Council (GMC) disciplinary hearing was told that another patient in Dr Stevenson’s care suffered a respiratory arrest on the same day when he administered 30mg of diamorphine hydrochloride, rather than the intended dose of 5mg.

However, the 59-year-old builder made a full recovery after the emergency services were called and an antidote given.

The doctor, who was spared jail when he admitted the manslaughter of Mrs Wright, then recorded in his notes that he only administered 5mg of the drug and told the man’s wife he may have suffered a heart attack.

The doctor is now facing a hearing relating to four cases, including two where he administered doses “in excess of recommended guidance and potentially fatal”. The GMC alleges that his actions “were not in the best interests of the patients and irresponsible”.

Dr Stevenson remains on an interim suspension order and has previously vowed never to practise again, but he denies his fitness to practise is impaired because of his alleged actions.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

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