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Electronicjuice
Vol 271 No 7268 p397
27 September 2003

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DoH: National Guidance on the Safe Administration of IntrathecalChemotherapy ()


Doctor sentenced over vincristine death

A doctor who caused the death of a cancer patient in 2001 after wrongly instructing a senior house office of only four weeks' standing to inject vincristine into the patient's spine has been given an 18 month prison sentence after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Dr Feda Mulhem, who had been in his post as a specialist registrar in haematology at Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, for two days, failed to note what was written on the patient’s haematology chart, failed to see which drug should have been administered and did not check a syringe which was clearly labelled with an instruction that its contents should not be injected intrathecally. The SHO twice checked that Dr Mulhem wanted the drug to be injected into the patient’s spine before following his instructions. The patient died four weeks later.

Dr Mulhem was sentenced to eight months imprisonment for manslaughter and 10 months for unrelated assaults. He has already been in prison on remand for 11 months and so has been released.

Compulsory guidelines to try to prevent further such deaths were introduced later in 2001 (PJ, 17 November 2001, p707).

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