A doctor pleaded guilty to manslaughter yesterday after his actions led to the death of a recovering teenage cancer sufferer who was wrongly injected in the spine.

Wayne Jowett, 18, was in remission from leukaemia and on an outpatient visit when Feda Mulhem, 36, ordered his junior doctor to inject Mr Jowett with vincristine.

The injection should have been in a vein rather than the spine. Mr Jowett was taken to intensive care after the injection but died a month later in hospital after a creeping paralysis led to heart failure. During a short hearing yesterday at Nottingham Crown Court, Mulhem admitted manslaughter. His trial had been halted on 8 July because of his ill health.

Mr Jowett was being treated at Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, in January 2001 when the incident occurred.

Mulhem, of Stanley Road, Leicester, had been at the hospital as a specialist registrar for only two days before he was asked by the senior house doctor to supervise the treatment of the teenager. Mulhem failed to note what was written on the patient's haematology chart and failed to see which drug should have been administered, Bruce Houlder QC, for the prosecution, told the jury.

He also failed to check the route of administration, which would have stated that the drug was vincristine and should have been injected into a vein.

Mr Houlder told an earlier hearing: "What he did was to fail in a number of respects. These failures led directly to the death of Wayne Jowett."

Mulhem only realised his mistake when events were queried twice by the senior house doctor. Mr Houlder said Mulhem was distressed because he knew the consequences of his actions would be almost certain death. The doctor, who arrived to work in Britain in 1998 after qualifying in Damascus, Syria, later told police he got it into his head he was administering a completely different drug.

After the inquest into the teenager's death in 2001, the Government promised to reduce the number of people killed in clinical accidents of this type to zero. A spokeswoman for the British Medical Association said: "We would totally support any action that would prevent clinical accidents of this type occurring again."

Mulhem was remanded in custody to be sentenced today.