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Monday, 29 November, 1999, 15:54 GMT
GP 'decided not to resuscitate patient'
shipman Dr Harold Shipman denies murdering 15 women patients

Dr Harold Shipman has told his murder trial he decided not to resuscitate one of his alleged victims when he found her collapsed because she had a poor chance of making a full recovery.

The Shipman Trial
The GP said he thought that 67-year-old Marie Quinn had suffered a stroke when he discovered her lying on the kitchen floor at her home in Hyde, Greater Manchester on 24 November 1997.

He told Preston Crown Court that he had arranged to visit Mrs Quinn after she telephoned the surgery complaining of weakness in her arm and leg.

When he found her collapsed on the floor, Dr Shipman said there was no sign of breathing and that whatever had happened was "on a major scale".

He said: "I had to decide whether to attempt resuscitation or let nature take its course."

He said he decided not to attempt resuscitation, but would review the situation in two minutes.

"But two minutes later there was no sign of life and she had died," the doctor said.

marie quinn Marie Quinn: "Chances of a full recovery were poor"
Dr Shipman said he had made that decision because, in his experience, chances of full recovery were poor.

He said: "Patients who do survive often have a loss of personality, a loss of use of the body. Mrs Quinn was an extremely independent likeable patient and for her to go from that to being dependent on people she didn't know was something I couldn't imagine."

It was the third day of giving evidence for Dr Shipman, of Roe Cross Green, Mottram, near Hyde, Greater Manchester.

He denies murdering Mrs Quinn and 14 other women patients and forging the 386,000 will of one of them.

Dr Shipman told the court earlier how another of his alleged victims collapsed and died in his surgery.

He said 63-year-old Ivy Lomas was complaining of chest pains and was "grey and sweating and she looked unwell".


Patients who do survive often have a loss of personality, a loss of use of the body
Dr Harold Shipman
Dr Shipman said he thought it was possible she had suffered a coronary thrombosis and took her into his treatment room to carry out an electro cardiograph test (ECG).

But she collapsed as he was preparing for the test, he said.

'No response'

The doctor said: "She was not conscious. I could not detect an artery on the neck. I thought the diagnosis was then confirmed that she had had a coronary thrombosis."

He told the jury he tried to resuscitate Mrs Lomas for 15 minutes but there was no response.

Dr Shipman said he did not call for help from receptionist Carol Chapman because it would have used up vital resuscitation time.

He said he thought it inappropriate to tell Mrs Chapman of Mrs Lomas's death in front of the other patients and instead saw three patients before telling the receptionist and asking her to contact the dead woman's son.

Dr Shipman's counsel, Nicola Davies QC, asked him about a conversation he had afterwards with Pc John Reid at the surgery about Mrs Lomas.

Miss Davies said the officer had reported that Dr Shipman had said he had shown Mrs Lomas to the treatment room to rest and that when he returned some 10 or 15 minutes later he had found her dead.

Dr Shipman denied saying that to the police officer and said it was not what had happened.

'Plaque for regular patients'

Miss Davies also asked him whether he had told Pc Reid he considered Mrs Lomas to be a nuisance, to which the doctor replied: "Far from it."

He admitted having a conversation with the officer about mounting a plaque over a seat to be reserved for Mrs Lomas.

Dr Shipman said: "Like any GP I had a small number of extremely regular attenders who are not curable and you have to accept they are in the surgery on a regular basis.

"With some of them I joked that perhaps we should put a plaque above their seat and that was the case with Ivy Lomas.

"In no way was it said except in a friendly, jocular manner...that was the tone of the conversation with Pc Reid."

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See also:
26 Nov 99 |  UK
Shipman admits back-dating records
25 Nov 99 |  UK
Shipman takes the stand
13 Oct 99 |  The Shipman trial
The prosecution case: 15 alleged victims
09 Nov 99 |  UK
GP patients 'had lethal morphine dose'
10 Nov 99 |  UK
Shipman defence attacks morphine theory
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