Dr Marcos Hourmann struck off after dishonesty over 'mercy killing'

Dr Marcos Hourmann
Image caption Dr Marcos Hourmann worked as a forensic medical examiner for Dyfed-Powys Police

A doctor who did not tell his police and health trust employers he carried out a "mercy killing" in Spain has been struck off the medical register.

Dr Marcos Hourmann, 52, was found to have acted dishonestly by the General Medical Council (GMC) last week.

He worked for Dyfed-Powys Police and NHS trusts in Carmarthenshire and Suffolk but did not tell them he had an involuntary manslaughter conviction.

A GMC hearing had been told he injected a seriously ill cancer patient.

Dr Hourmann said he had wanted to "rid her of the unbearable suffering" while working at a hospital in Spain in 2005.

The GMC's fitness to practise panel said last week it would consider whether Dr Hourmann's actions amounted to misconduct and, if so, whether the doctor should face punishment.

Suspended from job

Dr Hourmann, who qualified as a doctor in Argentina and now lives in Spain, was not present at the hearing and was not legally represented.

He was accused of misconduct and dishonesty because he hid the investigation and his conviction from the GMC and his employers. He also broke medical rules by failing to inform the GMC.

In a letter to the panel, the medic said he was unfamiliar with medical rules that state if a doctor has been cautioned, charged or convicted of a criminal offence, anywhere in the world, they must declare this to the profession's regulatory body, the GMC.

His explanation was not accepted by the GMC panel and it ruled that he should be struck off.

Finding him guilty of misconduct, the panel said: "Dr Hourmann's correspondence contains a number of aggravating features.

"He fails to appreciate his wrongdoing and persists in justifying his actions, both with regard to his convictions and his dishonest conduct."

'End suffering'

The GMC heard that on 28 March 2005, Dr Hourmann was working at the Mora D'Ebre district hospital in Tarragona, Spain, when an 82-year-old "extremely ill" cancer patient, referred to only as CR, was admitted.

The patient had advanced cancer of the colon and internal haemorrhaging and her family consented to her treatment by Dr Hourmann for "sedative and palliative" care.

When the patient became unconscious he injected her with 60mg of potassium chloride, a lethal dose.

Spanish court papers said the patient was "begging for her suffering to be brought to an end" and Dr Hourmann may have thought, incorrectly, "she was begging him to end her life", the GMC heard.

It took four years for the case to be resolved in Spain, when Dr Hourmann was convicted at the provincial high court in Tarragona, Catalonia, under Spanish law of "involuntary manslaughter" and "attempting to co-operate in the suicide of a seriously ill person whose death is imminent".

He was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended, and a further sentence of four months, 15 days jail, substituted by him paying a fine of 1,620 euro (£1,359).

Denied prosecution

But less than a year after killing the woman - by February 2006 - he lied to get a job with the West Suffolk NHS Trust.

In a self-declaration form he denied being under investigation, and in June 2007, applying for a job with Carmarthenshire NHS Trust in the A&E department at the Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli, he again denied there were past, present or pending prosecutions on his record.

Dr Hourmann then applied for a job with Dyfed-Powys Police as a forensic medical examiner in April 2008.

He was required to fill in forms, with one section asking whether he had any impending prosecutions or if he was the subject of a police investigation.

He left that part of the form blank and it appeared no-one at the force checked the form.

He worked for the force from May 2008 to October 2010 until his past history came to light, uncovered by the press.

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