July 23, 2008

Suicide Pills Doc Could Be Struck Off

A GP who gave a potentially suicidal patient sleeping pills faces being struck off.

Dr Iain Kerr, 61, prescribed 30 sodium amytal pills to a retired businesswoman in 1998 after she told him she had considered suicide.

Yesterday, a General Medical Council fitness to practise panel told him that it was "inappropriate, irresponsible, liable to bring the profession into disrepute and not in your patient's best interest".

The same ruling was made against the Glasgow GP for failing to refer the woman, known as Patient A, to hospital after she overdosed on Temazepam tablets in 2005.

Panel chairman John Donnelly branded the doctor's decision to prescribe her more Temazepam tablets two days later as "illogical".

The 87-year-old killed herself, using Temazepam, two weeks after her failed suicide bid.

Dr Kerr, of Williamwood Medical Centre in Clarkston, Glasgow, said he gave her the pills as an "insurance policy".

He told the seven-day hearing in Manchester: "She said, 'Give me something that I can take if things get too bad' and I said yes."

The doctor admitted he was once a member of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Scotland.

He was also censured for not making a record of why he gave similar pills to other patients.

The GMC Panel will consider what penalties he faces today.

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