Friday, July 25, 2008

Dr Iain Kerr suspended in Scotland

Dr. Iain Kerr (61) has been suspended by the General Medical Council (GMC) for 6 months after prescribing sodium amytal to a woman who he knew was suicidal. The GMC could have struck him off the list of physicians.

Kerr was known to have told patients that he was once a member of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Scotland.

Kerr first revealed his views on assisted suicide during his annual appraisal in 2004 where he had admitted to prescribing patients with sodium amytal to help them kill themselves.

After the appraisal the local health authorities and the Strathclyde Police opened an investigation the resulted in no charges due to insufficient evidence.

During the 9 day hearing by the (GMC) in Manchester Kerr told the panel that the:
"law is an ass and it was out of step with what a significant minority of people thought."
The GMC ruled that his fitness to practise was impaired by virtue of his misconduct and branded his actions
"inappropriate, irresponsible, liable to bring the profession into disrepute and not in your patient's best interest".
John Donnelly, the chairman of the GMC Fitness to Practise Panel said:
"The panel considers it necessary to send a message to the medical profession that this behaviour is unacceptable".
Donnelly also stated:
"You made a serious misjudgement and embarked on a potentially criminal act."
After the hearing the GMC decision Dr. Kerr stated:
"I very much regret the circumstances that brought me here before the General Medical Council and regret any inconvenience to my patients as a result of the investigation. The Fitness to Practise Panel has carefully considered all the facts and the evidence and I am grateful to them for taking into account the exceptional and unusual circumstances advanced on my behalf."
It is very important that the GMC has given this case the appropriate attention rather than remaining silent our of fear of offending the politically correct.

Comments by the Care Not Killing Alliance in the UK:

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