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Dr. Richard Gladwell McGOWN





Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Poisoner - British doctor - Allegedly experimented on Black patients
Number of victims: 2 - 5 +
Date of murders: 1986 - 1992
Date of birth: 1937
Victims profile: Lavender Khaminwa, 9 / Kalpesh Nagindas, 19-month-old (patients)
Method of murder: Poisoning (morphine)
Location: Harare, Zimbabwe
Status: Found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to a year in jail in 1995

British M.D. charged with experimenting on blacks - Dr. Richard Gladwell McGown

March 29, 1993

A British doctor has been arrested after lawmakers claimed he carried out medical experiments on 500 patients, most of them Black and some of whom died.

One legislator likened his test on Black women and children to the Nazi's experiments on Jews and Poles in concentration camps.

Dr. Richard Gladwell McGown, 57, an anesthetist in Zimbabwe for several years, is to appear in court on charges which may include murder, according to state prosecutors who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Police allege McGown conducted medical tests using new drugs and anesthetics without the authority of Zimbabwe Drugs Control Council and the knowledge of patients. A parliamentary committee probing health services claims up to six of McGown's patients died as a result.


White doctor in Zimbabwe found guilty of negligence in the deaths of two children

Richard McGown, who gave lethal doses of morphine to black patients

Feb 6, 1995

A White doctor in Harare, Zimbabwe, who allegedly experimented on Black patients was recently found guilty of professional negligence in the deaths of two children.

A judge ruled that Richard McGown, a physician who has been compared to a Nazi death camp doctor, gave unusually high dosages of morphine when administering anesthetics to five patients who died between 1986 and 1992.

Four of the five who died were Black. The fifth was of Greek descent. The court ruled, however, that the doctor's negligence caused the deaths of just two of the patients.

McGown's sentence had not been handed down at JET press time.

The case has highlighted growing racial tensions in the former British colony.

Black students have accused the predominantly White medical establishment of a cover-up and there were demonstrations threatening violence against Zimbabwe's 90,000 Whites if justice was not served.


Doctor in Zimbabwe race row out on bail

February 11, 1995

The British doctor at the centre of a race row in Zimbabwe has been released on bail pending an appeal after being found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to a year in jail. Dr Richard Gladwell McGown had been vilified by the press and accused by MPs of carrying out Nazi-style experiments after several of his operations ended in death.

The High Court in Harare found him guilty of the culpable homicide of Lavender Khaminwa, aged 9, who died after an operation to remove her appendix, and 19 year old Kalpesh Nagindas, who died after being circumcised. Dr McGown was sentenced to a year in prison, with six months of it suspended, and fined pounds sterling760. Three other charges of culpable homicide were dismissed.

Dr McGown, born in India and brought up in Glasgow, studied medicine at Edinburgh University and graduated in 1959. He worked in Sweden and Zambia before moving to Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia, in the late 1960s. It was in Zimbabwe that Dr McGown built his reputation as a consultant anaesthetist.

He developed a particular interest in post operative pain relief, writing in several prominent medical journals about his new methods of caudal epidural anaesthesia. He presented papers on the subject in Paris and Lisbon in the late 1980s. But in 1993 a parliamentary report alleged that Dr McGown had carried out clinical trials to discover new ways of monitoring pain without following laid down procedures. The report claimed that 500 patients had been used and that at least five had died.

Under parliamentary privilege MPs likened Dr McGown to a Nazi doctor and accused him of experimenting on black people "as if they were cats and baboons." Furious protests by students and black activists followed the proceedings. Shortly afterwards Dr McGown was arrested and charged with culpable homicide. The charges of experimentation were dropped when the trial began.

The parents of the patients who died fought to bring the case to trial. Mr Charles Khaminwa, the father of Lavender, said: "This is a mockery of justice and a cover up. There is much evidence which has not been allowed to be presented to the court. I still want justice to be seen to be done before Zimbabwe and the world."

The case has shaken the confidence of Zimbabwe's health service and raised questions about the efficiency of state control. There are also fears about the quality of staff. The number of skilled doctors fell steadily during the 1980s despite the fact some 60 physicians graduate every year from Harare's medical school. One Harare based doctor, who asked not to be named, said: "Dr McGown's techniques have often been used in Britain and in Europe. But their success largely depends on after care treatment by experienced nurses, and I'm afraid that some of his patients may have died because of bad postoperative care by locally trained nurses."

Dr McGown's defence counsel is appealing against the judgment to the Supreme Court.


Doctor accused over baby's death

BBC News

Friday, 22 November, 2002

A British doctor working in Zimbabwe sent a baby boy home just 75 minutes after an operation, the General Medical Council has heard.

The 19-month-old infant died just hours after the routine circumcision. He had been given high levels of morphine for pain relief.

Dr Richard Gladwell McGown has denied serious professional misconduct.

The GMC is hearing the case in London because the doctor is on its medical register and is licensed to practice in the UK.

Dr McGown is also accused of failing to provide proper care to a nine-year-old girl who died following an appendix operation.

Routine operation

The GMC's professional conduct committee heard how the baby boy - known as Child A - was admitted to Avenues Clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe on 13 July 1988 for a circumcision because he had problems urinating.

Dr McGown, who was educated in Scotland, gave the toddler an injection of morphine into the spine to relieve the pain after the operation.

The committee heard that Dr McGown was fully aware of the risks of associated with morphine injection.

According to GMC lawyers, he wrote an article in 1989 - the year after the boy's operation - stating that "under no circumstances should a child be allowed to leave the care and support of the hospital for at least 24 hours if given a caudal morphine injection".

Counsel for the GMC Joanna Glynn said Dr McGown's decision to discharge the infant was indefensible.

"The decision to discharge him after 75 minutes was wholly indefensible. It falls below the standards of a competent medical practitioner," she said.

Dr McGown, who faced a criminal trial in Zimbabwe in relation to the deaths, acknowledged that the high dose of morphien contributed to the infant's death.

He told the GMC committee: "Had he not had this anaesthetic, he would still have been alive."

But he added: "I have had great difficulties during a criminal trial and during this hearing in trying to get across the fact that large doses are not only permitted but required when using caudal morphine."

The father of the child - who was not named - described how he was given no instructions on how to care for the baby following the operation. He said he had not been told that his son had been given morphine.


He described how Dr McGown handed him the child following the surgery, saying: "He said: 'Here is your child. I've brought him back from the dead.' It seemed like a joke."

The father, from Harare revealed how the baby was irritable and later fell into a deep sleep.

He began vomiting yellow liquid and was taken back to the hospital where he died, six hours after his operation.

Dr McGown is also accused of giving the patient an excessive amount of morphine and failing to keep adequate anaesthetic records.

Ms Glynn told the disciplinary committee: "Neither of these healthy children should have died. Their deaths were preventable.

"They were caused by culpable failures set out in the charges."



MO: Overdosed hospital patients with morphine in "experiments".

DISPOSITION: Six-month sentence for two "negligent" deaths, 1995.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans



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