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Doctor cleared of act “tantamount to euthanasia”

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39273.604063.DB (Published 12 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:67
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. London

    A consultant neonatologist who gave lethal doses of the muscle relaxant pancuronium to hasten the deaths of two premature babies from whom treatment had been withdrawn was this week cleared of an act “tantamount to euthanasia” by the UK General Medical Council.

    Michael Munro was found to have misled a hospital colleague investigating the deaths, and to have kept inadequate notes of the cases. But Dr Jacqueline Mitton, chairwoman of the GMC's fitness to practise panel, said these findings were not serious enough to suggest that Dr Munro's fitness to practise was impaired.

    “I am satisfied that you have insight into the failings highlighted by this case,” she told Dr Munro. “It is neither necessary nor proportionate to issue a warning to you.” While hastening death had been an “anticipated consequence” of giving such a dose of pancuronium, the panel found, Dr Munro's primary purpose had …

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