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Guilty Verdict for Doctor who Killed Intensive Care Patient

Posted Feb 10 2009 11:31am

A doctor responsible for ending the life of an intensive care patient who died after she injected her with an adrenaline shot against the advice of her colleagues has been found guilty of manslaughter.

Priya Ramnath from India was handed a suspended six-month jail sentence at Birmingham Crown Court after being convicted of killing Patricia Leighton in 1998.

During the four-week trial it was discovered that Mrs Leighton from Burntwood, Staffordshire, suffered fatal heart failure after Ramnath administered the adrenaline shot at Stafford District General Hospital.

The jury came back with a 10-2 guilty verdict but the presiding judge deemed it unnecessary to put Ramnath in prison in the interests of justice.

The judge declared that the 40 year old mother of two, who currently resides in the US, panicked in the “pressure cooker” of the Stafford hospital’s intensive therapy unit.

Mrs Justice Rafferty said, “The jury has found that Mrs Leighton would have lived longer, perhaps days, but for your gross negligence,”

She added that the hospital registrar’s biggest mistake was when she chose to ignore the advice of a sister working with her.

“Arrogance has cost you your reputation,” the judge told Ramnath.

The trial heard that Ramnath gave injected the adrenaline despite three different colleague advising against it.

In addition, the doctor did not follow protocol by neglecting to liaise with a consultant anaesthetist at Stafford District General before giving the lethal injection.

The trial was told by Prosecutor Michael Burrows QC that Mrs Leighton died on 22 July 1998 in the intensive therapy unit where she was being treated.

Mr Burrows went on to say that after receiving the injection, Mrs Leighton jerked forward in her bed before becoming unconscious soon after.

Jurors heard that the 51 year old victim had been suffering from arthritis when a wound on a bunion became infected and she was admitted to a hospital in Cannock on 20 July.

After having a bad reaction to antibiotics she was transferred to Stafford into the intensive care unit with septic shock.

Mrs Leighton’s family attended the trial, including her daughters Debbie Leighton-Newton and Nicky Fellows.

The sisters said of the verdict, “Mom was a very loyal and family-orientated person with a lovely gentle nature.

“We have overcome many hurdles to get this case to trial. It doesn’t matter how long ago a crime happened, you have to fight for justice.

“And that’s what we have done over the last 10 years.

“We are happy that the jury have returned a guilty verdict and that justice has at last been served, and hope that she will never be able to wreck another family’s life.”

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