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Doctor left elderly patients in 'drug-induced comas'

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A Gosport doctor’s failures left elderly patients in ‘drug-induced comas’, a GMC disciplinary panel has heard.

Dr Jane Barton is accused of over-prescribing opiate painkillers and sedatives to 12 patients at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital in Hampshire between January 1996 and November 1999.

Said Tom Kark, for the GMC: ‘There was an almost universal failure by Dr Barton to make proper notes of assessments of the patients, if such assessments were in fact taking place, or to justify her actions in prescribing opiates and some medication was increased with no explanation made, even though these were drugs which were capable of ending life.’

He reported that in a police interview she said: ‘I was left with a choice of attending my patients and taking notes as best I could or making more detailed notes about those I did see but potentially neglecting other patients.’

The panel heard that even though many of the patients had no experience of opiates, Dr Barton wrote prescriptions that allowed nursing staff to ‘massively’ increase dosage if they saw fit.

An inquest has already found that medication contributed to the deaths of five of Dr Barton’s patients.

The GMC hearing continues.

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