Worksop doctor cleared of manslaughter

A doctor who was accused of killing two patients by prescribing high doses of a painkiller between checking emails and cricket scores on his computer has been cleared of manslaughter.

GP Rejendra Kokkarne, 37, of Fulmar Way, Worksop, was accused of causing the deaths of care home patients 78-year-old Beryl Barber and 86-year-old Eric Watson.

Both died after they were prescribed ten times the normal starting dose of morphine sulphate by Dr Kokkarne.

He had been told about their pain over the phone by a nurse at the Charlton Centre for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care in Batley, West Yorks.

Mrs Barber had been suffering from painful ulcers and Mr Watson had a urinary infection and mouth ulcers.

The prosecution had argued Dr Kokkarne was not fully concentrating as records show he prescribed the drugs in between surfing the internet.

He had denied two counts of manslaughter by gross negligence of Mrs Barber on 3rd February 2008 and of Mr Watson on 4th February.

He told police he had made a mistake.

Kokkarne also worked at The Practice surgery in Creswell under the name of Dr Nayak.

A spokesman from The Practice said: “This incident occurred in February 2008 before our involvement in the surgery. Following the charge, Dr Kokkarne was suspended by us and the GMC and we have continued to support him throughout these legal proceedings.”

He continued: “All of our patients can be assured that we are not aware of any complaints or concerns about Dr Kokkarne’s work as a GP here in Derbyshire. No problems with his clinical practice were found, in fact, he brought high standards of patient care to the surgery and helped improve services available to them. We have and continue to keep in regular touch with him, with his full cooperation.”

He added: “Dr Rajendra Nayak Kokkarne has two family names Nayak and Kokkarne and is known to patients at the surgery as Dr Nayak.”

Kokkarne was acquitted on both counts by a jury at Leeds Crown Court after more than a day of deliberations.