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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 January, 2004, 16:55 GMT
Convicted doctor 'should keep job'
Evan Harris MP
Evan Harris says Dr Misra should be treated fairly
A doctor convicted of the manslaughter of a patient should be allowed to keep his job at a Tyneside hospital, says a leading Liberal Democrat MP.

Dr Amit Misra and another doctor, Rajeev Srivastava, were convicted of manslaughter due to gross negligence following the death of Sean Phillips in Southampton General Hospital in June 2000.

Health officials in Newcastle say Dr Misra, who received an 18-month suspended jail sentence, is a trainee orthopaedic surgeon at the city's Freeman Hospital.

MP Evan Harris says it is likely Dr Misra is a better doctor as a result of his experiences and he should be allowed to continue his training.

Toxic shock

Mr Phillips's father Myles has called for a judicial review into the decision of the General Medical Council (GMC) to allow Dr Misra to continue working.

Sean Phillips died after going into Southampton General Hospital for routine knee surgery.

While one has every sympathy with the family in this tragic case, it is extremely important that the doctors in this case are treated fairly
Dr Evan Harris, MP
He developed the rare condition toxic shock syndrome, which was not diagnosed.

A jury at Winchester Crown Court took nine hours to find the two doctors guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence, in a majority verdict.

The judge, Mr Justice Gordon Langley, sentenced the two doctors to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Dr Harris, himself a former junior hospital doctor, said: "While one has every sympathy with the family in this tragic case, it is extremely important that the doctors in this case are treated fairly.

'Terminate contract'

"Fair treatment for Dr Misra means that as long as there is no risk to patients, he should be allowed to earn a living and he should be allowed to complete his training.

Southampton General Hospital
Southampton General, where Mr Phillips was treated

"It is likely that he will be a better doctor, having learned the lessons from this tragic case.

"It is no part of justice that an otherwise good doctor, who is no danger to patients, be forced out of the profession on the basis of the conviction alone. That would be double jeopardy."

Mr Phillips, who lives near Canterbury, Kent, travelled to Tyneside on Tuesday to urge hospital bosses to terminate Dr Misra's contract.

He said: "I want to let the people of Newcastle know that their relatives - old people or children - could be treated by this man.

No risk to patients

"Would you honestly want a child of yours or a relative of yours to be looked after by him bearing in mind what has happened?" he said.

A spokesman for Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust said: "Mr Misra is a junior orthopaedic surgeon, deployed under supervision as part of his education and training across the hospitals in the North East.

"We have been given an assurance that no patient is at risk."

Dr Misra and Dr Srivastava were both junior doctors at Southampton General Hospital when father-of-one Sean Phillips died.

They are both appealing against their manslaughter convictions.

A spokesman for the GMC said: "We automatically consider all conviction cases - they are notified to us by the police.

"We have to wait for the outcome of all criminal proceedings before we can take action."

Anger at convicted doctor's job
06 Jan 04  |  England

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