GMC suspends fatal injection doctor

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A doctor who wrongly ordered his junior to give a teenager a fatal injection into his spine was yesterday suspended for 12 months, the General Medical Council ruled.

A doctor who wrongly ordered his junior to give a teenager a fatal injection into his spine was yesterday suspended for 12 months, the General Medical Council ruled.

Dr Feda Mulhem had been working at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham for only two days when he incorrectly ordered a junior to inject powerful anti-cancer drugs into 18-year-old Wayne Jowett's spine.

The young man died a month later and Mulhem was jailed for 18 months after pleading guilty to manslaughter and separate assault charges against his wife and children, the General Medical Council in Manchester was told.

Mr Jowett, of Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, was recovering from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when he visited the hospital for routine chemotherapy treatment in January 2001.

The hearing was told Mulhem did not look at Mr Jowett's records or clinical details and failed to notice written instructions on the side of a syringe, which specifically warned the drugs were not to be injected into the spine.

The mistake was noticed almost immediately but doctors were unable to reverse the devastating effects and the trainee mechanic suffered paralysis and heart failure.

Speaking after the ruling, chairwoman Mrs Judith Worthington said the committee recognised flaws in the hospital procedures contributed to the death but that Mulhem had acted with gross negligence.

She said: "Dr Mulhem's conviction for manslaughter has undermined the trust that members of the public place in the profession and has brought discredit upon it.

"Furthermore, the conviction of a registered medical practitioner for offences of violence is a matter of grave concern ... This behaviour is inexcusable and unbecoming of a registered medical practitioner.

"The committee express their strong disapproval of Dr Mulhem's gross negligence.

"Accordingly, in all the circumstances of this case the committee have determined to suspend Dr Mulhem's registration for a period of 12 months."

Mulhem failed to appear and had no legal representation at the hearing.