Leeds & West Yorkshire

GP Rejendra Kokkarne 'prescribed excess morphine dose'

A GP prescribed 10 times the normal dose of a painkiller to two patients in West Yorkshire, in between surfing the internet, a court heard.

Beryl Barber, 78, and Eric Watson, 86, died in 2008 after being prescribed morphine sulphate over the telephone.

Rejendra Kokkarne, of Worksop, signed the higher-than-normal starting doses between checking emails and cricket scores, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Dr Kokkarne, 37, denies two counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

'Rapid decline'

Prosecutor Robert Smith QC alleged that Dr Kokkarne, of Fulmar Way, was not fully concentrating when he prescribed the drugs on 1 February 2008, after a phone call from a nurse at the Charlton Centre for Alzheimer's and Dementia Care in Batley, West Yorkshire, where the patients lived.

Mrs Barber was suffering from foot ulcers and Mr Watson had a urinary infection and mouth ulcers.

The court heard how computer records at the Victoria Medical Centre in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, showed that the GP had checked his emails and used online banking before prescribing the medication. Afterwards, he read news stories and checked cricket scores from India.

Relatives told the court how "shocked" they were about the rapid decline of Mrs Barber and Mr Watson when they visited them on the morning of 3 February 2008.

In a statement read out in court, Mrs Barber's daughter, Claire Gill said: "There was a dramatic difference in her facial appearance. Her face was drawn, her eyes were closed and her breathing was shallow."

Mr Watson's stepdaughter, Sandra Hooley, said in a statement: "I could see what looked like a little shrunken head with his mouth wide open and his eyes slammed shut.

"A nurse said he had been given some morphine the day before."

The trial continues.

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