A medical watchdog has heard how a foreign doctor convicted of the "mercy killing" of a patient in Spain later got a job with Dyfed Powys Police. The General Medical Council (GMC) hearing in Manchester heard how Dr Marcos Arel Hourmann worked for the force for more than two years despite being under investigation and subsequently convicted of manslaughter in Spain.
He had injected a cancer-riddled patient already at death's door to "rid her of the unbearable suffering" and end her life, while working at a hospital in Spain in 2005, the GMC was told. Within a year, Dr Hourmann, 52, had come to the UK and started to work for the West Suffolk NHS Trust before getting another job with Carmarthenshire NHS Trust and going to work for the police as a forensic medical examiner.
The medic, who qualified as a doctor in Argentina and now lives in Spain, has not appeared for the hearing before the GMC's Fitness to Practise panel and is not represented by lawyers.
He is accused of misconduct and dishonesty because he hid the investigation and his conviction from the GMC and employers. Dr Hourmann also broke medical rules by failing to inform the GMC. Currently suspended, he may now be struck-off the medical register by the GMC.
– Alan Taylor, counsel for the GMC
"This case involves two aspects, firstly Dr Hourmann's convictions and secondly his misconduct in not revealing anything about the original incident or about being investigated, charged or ultimately convicted in relation to it. Nothing was revealed or disclosed to the regulatory body or employers for whom he started work in the UK.
The GMC heard that on March 28 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.
Mr Taylor, reading from the 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".
It took four years for the case to be resolved in Spain, when Dr Hourmann was convicted at the Provincial High Court in Tarragona under Spanish law of "involuntary manslaughter" and "attempting to co-operate in the suicide of a seriously ill person whose death is imminent". It is understood the patient's family bear Dr Hourmann no ill-will despite the conviction.
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). 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, he again denied there was no past, present or pending prosecutions on his record. Dr Hourmann then applied for a job with Dyfed Powys Police 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. In fact he left that part of the form blank - and it appears 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.
The hearing in Manchester is expected to last two more days.