Dewsbury GP acquitted of morphine deaths

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A GP accused of surfing the internet while prescribing 10 times the normal dose of morphine sulphate to two elderly patients has been acquitted by a jury.

General Practitioner Rejendra Kokkarne was accused of checking cricket scores online and using his office computer for personal internet banking while prescribing the fatal doses for Beryl Barber, 78, and Eric Watson, 86, on February 1, 2008.

Mrs Barber had painful ulcers on her foot and elsewhere, while Mr Watson had a urinary tract infection and mouth ulcers.

Both were patients at the Charlton Centre in Batley Field Hill, Batley, and died of morphine poisoning.

Prosecuting at Leeds Crown Court, Robert Smith QC said not only was the drug wholly inappropriate for the patients’ individual circumstances, but the dosage the GP arranged was far in excess of what should have been given to an elderly patient.

Mr Kokkarne has told the court the morphine sulphate was appropriate medication as other pain medications were unsuitable.

He admitted his internet use that day was “embarrassing” but said using the internet between patients helped to refresh his mind.

Today (Friday) Mr Kokkarne, 37, of Fulmar Way in Worksop, has been found not guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence of Mrs Barber on February 3, 2008 and Mr Watson on February 4 that year.