Family accept payout over overdose from locum doctor

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The family of a pensioner who died after he was administered a fatal pain relief overdose by an overseas locum doctor have accepted £40,000 compensation, their lawyers said today.

Daniel Ubani injected 70-year-old David Gray with 100mg of diamorphine - 10 times the recommended daily dose.

The German doctor was on his first shift for a GP out-of-hours service provider in February 2008 when he treated Mr Gray for renal colic at his home in Manea, Cambridgeshire.

A spokeswoman for Anthony Collins Solicitors said negotiations over legal costs continue but the family have accepted the compensation figure from sources which remain confidential as part of the payout agreement.

Mr Gray's son Stuart Gray, who is also a GP, said: "My father was killed and £40,000 does seem a small sum for the loss of a life, especially when compared to countries like the US. It's disappointing the value that is put on a life.

"However, we've never been interested in the money. The major issue for us is pressing for a change to regulations in this country to prevent a repeat of the situation that led to my father's death."

Mr Gray's family have also lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights against the German and UK governments over the handling of the criminal inquiry into the death, the spokeswoman said.

Cambridgeshire Police, who were investigating Mr Gray's death, issued a European arrest warrant for Ubani to bring him back to the UK to face a possible manslaughter charge.

But, as the warrant was issued, it emerged that legal proceedings had already been instigated in Germany.

At a court in Witten, the doctor pleaded guilty to causing death by negligence - a lesser charge. He was given a nine-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay 5,000 euros (£4,300) costs.

The prosecution, which is allowed under German law, means he cannot be extradited to face charges in the UK.

The family claims the handling of the criminal inquiry was a violation of their human rights. If their claim is upheld they could claim compensation from both governments.

Success at the court could also see the German government overturn Ubani's conviction which would allow him to be charged with corporate manslaughter.

At the conclusion of a 10-day inquest into Mr Gray's death Cambridgeshire North and East Coroner William Morris said that Ubani was "incompetent" and ruled that Mr Gray was unlawfully killed.

He said the death amounted to gross negligence and manslaughter.

Ubani has been called to attend a fitness to practice hearing next week at the General Medical Council in Manchester.