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Friday, 28 October 2005 10:31
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Daughter trusted GP over morphine injections
A GP accused of killing a patient with an overdose of morphine was not questioned by the patient’s daughter because she trusted that “doctor knows best”, a court heard yesterday.

Alison Moss said her faith in the superior knowledge of GP Howard Martin – accused of killing 59-year-old Frank Moss and two other patients in Co Durham – stopped her from doubting the quality of treatment he administered.

Ms Moss told Teeside crown court that she had been surprised at the repeated doses of morphine given to her father, which were later discovered to have been around six times the recommended sedative level.

She recalled that following one injection given to her father – who suffered from lung cancer that had spread to his brain – the doctor unexpectedly retuned the same evening to administer more.

"He said he was going to give a top-up injection, which I thought was quite strange because my father had not woken up since the first one," she said. "But I thought with him being a doctor he knew best so I didn't ask any questions."

On the day before her father died, Ms Moss said she visited him at his home in Eldon, near Newton Aycliffe, and found him fitting a socket in preparation for receiving delivery of a mechanical bed the next day.

Martin later arrived and injected Mr Moss with morphine because "he was having trouble with his breathing".

"I found it very hard to believe because I had just been inside with him. He was not having trouble breathing. He was just my normal dad."

She still did not question the morphine doses but said Martin had made her uncomfortable during his evening visit by discussing funeral arrangements and rigour mortis.

She told the court: "I was upset because he had just told me that my father was dying and then he started babbling on about rigor mortis. Who would want to know about rigor mortis when they have just been told that their father's dying?"

Ms Moss went to the police with her misgivings after hearing publicity surrounding the death of another of Martin’s alleged victims, Harry Gittins, 74, in January 2004. The bodies of Mr Moss, Mr Gittins and a third man, Mr Stanely Weldon, were exhumed.

Martin denies murdering the three men. The trial continues.


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