UK psychiatrist Peter Rowan inherits £1.2million following death of overmedicated patient, panel hears

May 10, 2010

A panel of the General Medical Council (GMC), the UK's medical governing body, heard today that psychiatrist Peter Rowan carried on a "blurred and secretive" relationship with a wealthy patient while he was employed at the private Priory Clinic.

The patient, a millionaress who Rowan treated for 16 years, died at age 66 following a fall in her home in 2003.  The panel heard that she was heavily medicated for years because Rowan prescribed a "hazardous" cocktail of drugs.

Rowan now faces a misconduct hearing before his governing body after an alleged catalogue of errors in the lead up to the pensioner's death.

The hearing was told that Rowan inherited £1.2million from her estate and had received other financial gifts from the woman.

Though not being held responsible for causing her death, which was determined to be respiratory disease,  Rowan is reported as having prescribed a "dangerous" mixture of powerful drugs that put the patient at risk of falling, the GMC was told.

The patient first saw the private psychiatrist in 1987 and was given a "hazardous" mix of anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and sleeping tablets.  She was on four times the recommended daily dose of the tranquillizer Ativan, which could increase the risk of falls, said a GMC spokesperson.

Crucially, Rowan failed to inform her general practitioner or respiratory physician of the prescriptions.

"The bottom line is that these drugs were prescribed in degrees that were inappropriate when it came to dosage combinations," the spokesperson said. "These prescribing practices were further aggravated because the dosages and their combinations are contra-indicatory to the patient's respiratory condition, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease."

Rowan also failed to keep accurate medical records, detailing the patient's medication, doses or treatment plans, it is alleged.

He faces 10 detailed charges relating to his care of the patient.

The hearing continues.

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Citizens Commission on Human Rights' PsychCrime website:


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