Doctor struck off after patient dies from detoxification treatment

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 27 October 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:955
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. London

    An anaesthetist in England was struck off the medical register by the General Medical Council last week after a heroin addict died while under his care undergoing a controversial treatment in which the doctor had an undisclosed financial interest.

    Dr Gary Gerson was found guilty of serious professional misconduct in his treatment of Brendan Woolhead, aged 34, a long time heroin addict who underwent a course of ultra-rapid opiate detoxification at the London Welbeck Hospital.

    The controversial technique involves a cocktail of drugs, including the opiate antagonist naltrexone, and a general anaesthetic to keep the patient unconscious during the first hours of withdrawal. Fifteen different drugs were believed to have …

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