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SORRY; Docs whose blunders condemned boy to an agonising, slow death apologise ..but it is not enough for parents.

Byline: ROBIN TURNER

TWO doctors who injected the wrong drug into a teenager's spine, condemning him to a slow and agonising death, apologised to his family yesterday.

Wayne Jowett, 18, was winning his fight against leukaemia when an anti-cancer medicine was pumped into his back instead of a vein.

He suffered such intense pain that at one stage six nurses had to hold him down. Wayne died a month later.

Specialist Dr Feda Mulhem and trainee Dr David Morton apologised in a statement read out at an inquest.

The doctors, who are suspended pending disciplinary proceedings, added: "From the outset we admitted our mistakes in Wayne's treatment.

"It is very important after a tragedy has occurred that all lessons are learned and safe systems put in place to ensure this never happens again."

But Wayne's family said the apology was "too early" to accept.

His mum Stella described how she was forced to watch her son's lingering death, adding: "It's just unbelievable that this could happen."

The inquest came as an independent report, published by Professor Brian Toft, condemned the doctors for not checking the chemotherapy drugs given to keen soccer and rugby player Wayne at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham.

The inquest heard that Wayne, of Keyworth, Notts, needed Cytosine in his spine and Vincristine in a vein.

But the Vincristine was put into his spine by mistake.

Dr Mulhem did not know the drug was "invariably fatal" if used wrongly.

Dr Morton had been at the hospital for four months and had never given the treatment. Dr Mulhem had been at the hospital for only two days.

Both men told the inquest that they had little or no experience in giving lumbar puncture treatments to cancer patients.

Coroner Dr Nigel Chapman told the hearing he was shocked at the number of similar deaths - 14 in the UK.

He added: "We can put a man on the moon but in a relatively short space of time we can't find solutions or ways to prevent these deaths." Verdict: Accident.

CAPTION(S):

LABEL: Warning on syringes; APOLOGY: Dr Morton, left, and Dr Mulhelm leave the inquest hearing yesterday. They are still suspended; VICTIM: Wayne was winning cancer battle
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 20, 2001
Words:368
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