Ban for GP who prescribed to ‘dying’ opioid user

Dr John Jeffery Cullen Norris admitted prescribing opioids and benzodiazepines to the man, identified as Patient A, at his northern Sydney practice between August 2008 and February 2011, in breach of rules applying to persons on a methadone program.

The GP said Patient A was “a dying man in severe pain” when he asked him to take over his methadone prescribing.

“I have no rational explanation… I was overwhelmed by compassion,” he told the Professional Standards Committee of the Medical Council of NSW.

Although the patient lived for several years after entering Dr Norris’s care at his Lane Cove practice, the GP had regarded him as “addicted and dying”.

Patient A was in persistent abdominal pain after his intravenous drug use left him with hepatitis C-related cirrhosis that did not respond to antiviral therapy, the committee was told.

Dr Norris had prescribed the patient, who is now