Doctor Death

News  Daily Record (Glasgow). Tuesday, 22 November 2022.


Boy dead after circumcision

Scots medic jailed for killing two children in Africa faces fight to keep working in UK

TWO healthy children died hours after a Scots anaesthetist injected them with excessive doses of morphine, the  External link GMC heard yesterday.

Richard McGown was jailed in Zimbabwe for the culpable homicide of the youngsters.

But the Edinburgh-educated doctor's return to Britain has led to a hearing to stop him practising in the UK.

Yesterday, the GMC was told that McGown's decision to discharge a 19-month-old boy 75 minutes after his circumcision operation was wholly indefensible.

He had also allegedly failed in the post-operative care of a nine-year- old girl, when he injected her with morphine after her appendix was removed.

Joanna Glynn, for the GMC, said: Neither of these two healthy children should have died. Both deaths were preventable. This was caused by culpable failures.

McGown was jailed in January 1995 for the culpable homicide of the two children, after a court ruled he had negligently administered morphine.

The case sparked racial tensions among Zimbabwe's 100,000 whites and 10million blacks.

The doctor, who pleaded not guilty, received a 12-month jail term, of which six months were suspended. He was acquitted of three other deaths.

McGown, who worked for 20 years in Harare, served four months in prison before returning to the UK. Yesterday's hearing came after demands from leading medical and political figures in Zimbabwe.

Both youngsters died following surgery at the  External link Avenues Clinic in Harare, where the Scot was working as a consultant anaesthetist. He was also a respected author of research on administering morphine to young children.

In July 1988, the baby boy, known as Patient A, died after being given morphine.

The infant had undergone a circumcision to cure his urinary problems and was injected by McGown to ensure he was free of pain.

The boy's father, who flew over from Harare, told the committee that after the operation McGown handed him his son saying: Here is your child, I've brought him back from the dead.

He said he was not told his son had been given morphine and was told to take him home just 75 minutes after the procedure.

The youngster fell into a deep sleep, then vomited a yellow water. He was raced back to hospital but died that evening.

In August 1990, McGown injected a high dose of opiate into the spine of nine- year-old Lavender Khminwe. The young girl died that evening from the effects of the morphine.

Her father Charles, a Kenyan lawyer, has vowed to fight on for justice for his daughter.

The anaesthetist admits mistakes in post-operative care but he denies the morphine doses were excessive. The hearing continues.

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