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'GP ERROR LED TO DEATH OF DOREEN, 72' Doctor on misconduct charges.

Byline: DAVE HIMELFIELD

A SERIOUS prescribing mistake by a GP led to the death of a pensioner, a tribunal heard.

Doreen Froste, 72, died at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on March 13, 2004, after being prescribed a drug for her arthritis, a General Medical Council (GMC) panel was told yesterday.

Mrs Froste's GP, Dr Manohar Singh, who runs Birkby Health Centre at Norwood Road, is accused of professional misconduct.

The tribunal at the GMC in Manchester is expected to last until June 16.

An inquest in 2008 ruled Mrs Froste's death had been partially caused by poisoning from Methotrexate which had been prescribed by Dr Singh.

Mrs Froste, who moved from Sussex to Birkby in March 2003, suffered severe hip pain and had difficult grasping objects because of her rheumatoid arthritis - a chronic disabling disease causing inflammation and destruction of bones and cartilage around the joints.

The panel heard that Dr Singh had prescribed Methotrexate in five-per-week daily doses between October 2003 and February 2004.

Medical experts recommend the drug be prescribed in weekly doses due to its toxic effect.

The tribunal was told Dr Singh also failed to increase Mrs Froste's dosage of Methotrexate despite instructions from Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI), where the mother-of-three had been treated.

Dr Singh failed to carry out blood and liver tests to monitor the treatment, the panel heard.

He also refused to release Mrs Froste's medical records to the West Yorkshire Coroner following her death, the tribunal was told.

Yesterday expert witness Dr Ian Isaac told the panel Dr Singh had made a "serious prescribing error" and his care of Mrs Froste had been "substandard".

For the GMC, counsel James MacAdam asked if prescribing Methotrexate in daily doses was wrong.

Dr Isaac replied: "It's a serious prescribing error. It should be given as a single dose once a week.

"The problem is this has happened in the past and you were warned all over the place that it should be taken once a week.

"You were warned of the consequences of not prescribing it this way... "It is ultimately Dr Singh's responsibility for that prescribing error. With respect, we would not be here if this was not Methotrexate. That's why it's a serious prescribing error."

Dr Singh admits failing to correct an error which led to the prescription of five-per-week doses of Methotrexate on four occasions.

He admits failing to increase Mrs Froste's dosage of the drug despite instructions from an HRI rheumatology expert.

Dr Singh also admits failing to perform blood and liver tests on Mrs Froste despite instructions from the hospital.

It is alleged he failed to release information and medical records on Mrs Froste to the West Yorkshire Coroner in the days after her death.

If found guilty of misconduct, Dr Singh may be ordered to retrain or be suspended from or struck off the medical register.

The case continues.

CAPTION(S):

* VICTIM: Doreen Froste (above) and (top left) her son Andrew Froste, of Lindley, who called for a medical inquiry when the inquest into her death was held, and Claire Froste
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jun 9, 2010
Words:511
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