Death case doctor "knew he had made false record"
28 January 2010
A JURY is deciding if a doctor lied to an inquest about signing the medical form of a woman who died after leaving hospital.
Dr Rohit Sinha has pleaded not guilty to perjury at the inquest of Wanda 'Jenny' Murphy, a widow from Brunswick Street, Westborough, in 2008.
Mrs Murphy cut short a trip to Malta in 2007 when she began having dizzy spells.
She was seen by Sinha at Dewsbury and District Hospital on August 13, and allegedly signed a self-discharge form and went home.
She later fell and broke her neck, and died in hospital on September 1 after contracting bronchial pneumonia.
A medical form suggested that Mrs Murphy had discharged herself from hospital, but after a complaint by her family who claimed that was not true, an inquiry started.
Prosecutor Paul Williams said: "Dr Sinha said he had signed her record card on August 13, 2007, to witness her signature and decision to self-discharge. But he had in fact signed it at a later date.
"He had made a false record and he knew it."
He said a photocopy of the form did not show Sinha's signature.
Leeds Crown Court heard Susan Terry, a friend and neighbour of Mrs Murphy, saw her the day after she left hospital, and she was clearly unwell.
She said: "She said she had been discharged and was very angry."
During the inquiry a senior nurse was asked to retrieve the document on August 24 and showed it to Sinha, of Hopton Drive, Sunderland. At that stage it had not been signed.
Mr Williams said: "When it appeared later in the investigation it had a signature. The doctor realised his mistake and put the signature in later."
Sinha then requested the contact details of a nurse involved in the inquiry, Nicola Royal.
Mr Williams said: "He said there should be no discrepancies between his statement and that of nurse Royal. There is an indication that he knew he had done wrong and was trying to cover up."
Sinha, 31, has no previous convictions. Christopher Hague, consultant gastroenterologist at Wansbeck Hospital, worked with him between August 2008 and August 2009.
"I would call him an excellent junior doctor and someone who should have an excellent future in the medical field. I would work with him again at any time," he told the court.
Michael Bowes QC, defending Sinha, said Sinha had never told the coroner he had 'definitely' signed the card on August 13.
He added: "Being pretty sure he signed it, is not the same as definitely signing it. Therefore, it is not perjury."