A PANEL of medical experts will today consider whether a Huddersfield GP, whose patient died following a prescribing error, is guilty of misconduct.
Doreen Froste, 72, of Birkby, died at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on March 13, 2004, after she was mistakenly prescribed daily doses of a drug for her arthritis.
Her GP, Dr Manohar Singh, who runs Birkby Health Centre, Norwood Road, has been appearing before a General Medical Council (GMC) tribunal in Manchester.
Dr Singh admits prescribing Mrs Froste five-a-week daily doses of Methotrexate, as opposed to weekly doses recommended by medical experts because of the drug’s toxicity.
The GP also admits failing to increase Mrs Froste’s dose despite requests from an HRI rheumatology expert who was treating her.
But Dr Singh denies failing to monitor Mrs Froste’s blood and liver despite alleged instructions from the hospital.
He also denies refusing to release Mrs Froste’s medical records to the West Yorkshire Coroner following her death.
But yesterday a Huddersfield coroner’s officer told the GMC panel Dr Singh had been uncooperative with her and another coroner’s officer.
Coroner’s officer Fiona Turner told the tribunal that in a phone call, immediately following Mrs Froste’s death, Dr Singh had told her to contact the Infirmary instead, before allegedly cutting her off.
She said: “I remember him saying without prompting: ‘I only changed her medication with the say-so from the hospital.
“It was quite unusual for him to say that without any prompting.”
For the GMC counsel Jason MacAdam asked: “You said he would need to get a pen and paper to take your number down?”
Mrs Turner: “Yes, to call me back but the line went dead.”
The following day when she attended Dr Singh’s surgery to pick up Mrs Froste’s medical notes, the GP continued to be uncooperative, Mrs Turner said.
She said: “He said he would read them out. You are required by law to hand them over.
“Dr Singh wanted another coroner’s officer, Daniela Condon, to sign a piece of paper before I handed them over to her.
“I’ve been a coroner’s officer since 2004 and this is the only time a police officer has assisted us in obtaining the notes.”
The panel later heard from Dr Singh’s counsel David Morris.
Mr Morris argued Dr Singh had not been explicitly instructed by the Infirmary to monitor Mrs Froste’s blood and liver because the hospital was already doing the job.
Evidence alleging that Dr Singh had been uncooperative with the coroner’s officers was weak, he added.
The three-member panel retired yesterday afternoon to consider its verdict.
The case continues.