MANEA: Health care chiefs order probe after 70 year old given wrong dosage of painkiller

PUBLISHED: 12:34 01 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:02 02 June 2010

HEALTH care chiefs have ordered an inquiry into how a German locum accidentally administered the wrong painkiller- and a dosage ten times the usual amount- which killed a 70 year old Manea man.

HEALTH care chiefs have ordered an inquiry into how a German locum accidentally administered the wrong painkiller- and a dosage ten times the usual amount- which killed a 70 year old Manea man.

It was revealed today that the doctor, who had only arrived in England a few hours earlier to begin a weekend shift, has been given a suspended prison sentence in Germany and fined £4,500.

The revelation means that a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Crown Prosecution Service to bring him back to Britain for a possible trial here, has been dropped under the rules of double jeopardy’. Effectively he can’t be tried twice for the same crime.

The legal loophole that has allowed Dr Daniel Ubani to escape sanction in this country has angered his family and has prompted the investigation by the NHS watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, who described it as a “deeply disturbing case”.

In March of last year Dr Ubani arrived at the Fenland home of Mr Gray, a retired British Aerospace manager, which he shared with his partner Lynda Bubb, 58, a civil servant.

Mr Gray had occasionally been obliged to call Sufdoc to ease the pain caused by renal colic and kidney stones.

However on the fateful night Mr Gray found the call answered by Dr Ubani, who had flown into England after working all week in Germany- where he had been a GP for 22 years- and took a car journey to Colchester to meet with the agency that employed him in this country.

Dr Ubani then drove to a clinic in Ipswich for coaching and then drove to Newmarket, where the weekend emergency cover is based and which took the call from Ms Bubb.

He then drove to Manea and gave Mr Gray 100 mg of diamorphine which he later admitted he had mistaken for pethidine. The dosage of diamorphine was ten times the usual amount that patients would have been given.

Some hours after the doctor’s visit, Ms Bubb found her partner in a deep sleep and she realised something was wrong and called paramedics who arrived and tried, unsuccessfully, to resuscitate him.

Mr Gray’s family – which includes a GP son from the West Midlands- pressed for an inquiry, at one stage receiving a letter from Dr Ubani explaining the “tremendous stress” he had been under. Dr Ubani said his nerves were stretched and he was “too tired and lacked concentration”.

The Department of Health says it “disappointing” Dr Ubani can no longer be held to account in this country.

However the Care Quality Commission inquiry is also likely to focus on the out of hours arrangements for British GPs which frequently see doctors from abroad working night time and weekend shifts in this country.

* Tell us what you think? Email john.elworthy@archant.co.uk

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