AN expert in the trial of a doctor accused of administering a lethal shot of morphine described the dose given as almost an 'unbelievable' one.
Professor John Ward, a retired consultant physician, was giving evidence in the trial of Dr Narendra Sinha at Chester Crown Court.
Prof Ward was asked his opinion of the treatment delivered by Sinha to a 63-year-old patient from Ellesmere Port, who died after being seen by the locum GP.
Sinha, 68, of Freehold Street, Fairfield, Liverpool, denies a charge of manslaughter by negligence.
The court heard he gave a 30mg dose of morphine to Maureen Lyth, after being called to her home in Grappenhall Road in September 2001.
Mrs Lyth was chronically ill and disabled after a stroke, and her one remaining kidney was failing.
But Sinha was called out to treat her for excruciating pain in her knee due to arthritis.
Prof Ward said: 'In my opinion, morphine derivatives are not an appropriate treatment for arthritis.'
Commenting on Mrs Lyth, he added: 'The patient is what we call naive to morphine and is therefore going to be less tolerant to it.'
He said of the 30mg dose: 'That is too much. 'The BNF (British National Formulary) says it is too much and, when added to the fact that she had renal failure and had never had it before and was bedridden, 30mg in that situation is getting on for being an unbelievable dose.'
The prosecution argue that Sinha failed in his duty of care to Mrs Lyth by not checking what medication she was on.
In a police interview, Sinha said the only circumstances in which he would not have used morphine were in cases where there were respiratory or heart problems.
He also said he believed the dose for an average-sized adult was 15-20mg and, if the patient was heavy or muscular, then maybe 30mg.
Sinha said Mrs Lyth had answered the door and said 'give me anything to relieve the pain'.
He claimed she did not inform him of any other medication she was on and that he was happy that he had 'administered the appropriate course of treat-ment for his patient.'