Family of student who died after Rugby doctor supplied drugs says ‘forgive yourself’

James Morgan
James Morgan

The family of a student who died has told the doctor who supplied him with drugs to ‘forgive himself and do good 
in the world’.

Student James Steen died of asphyxiation after doctor James Morgan handed out recreational drugs to friends who returned to his home in Wood Street, Rugby, after a night out.

We assured Dr Morgan of our forgiveness and suggested that he forgive himself and spend the rest of his life doing good in the world

James Morgan has been suspended from his profession for a year after appearing before the The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service panel last week.

Morgan was jailed for six months in March for supplying class B and C drugs.

A recent tribunal found his actions had ‘fallen below the standards expected of a doctor’.

The tribunal heard Morgan, who was released from prison in May, and some friends had been out socialising before returning to his home.

They consumed alcohol and the drugs GLB and MCAT, the panel heard.

Morgan woke to find Newcastle University student James Steen, 23, not breathing and he was later pronounced dead at the scene by an ambulance crew.

Speaking to the Advertiser after the tribunal, James Steen’s family said they had forgiven James Morgan.

“The family, in general, is satisfied with the outcome of the hearing.

“One year’s suspension will give Dr Morgan an opportunity to amend his life.

“At the inquest in May we assured Dr Morgan of our forgiveness and suggested that he forgive himself and spend the rest of his life doing good in the world.

“Circumstances have denied our son that possibility.

“The alternative sanction of erasure from the GMC register risked plunging Dr Morgan into a life on benefits and relapse onto controlled drugs.

“That option would not have ameliorated our son’s fate, nor would society have benefited, being deprived of a potentially productive individual, trained at public expense.”

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service panel said the drug convictions meant Morgan’s fitness to practise had been impaired and that he had “undermined the public’s confidence in the profession”.

But the tribunal acknowledged that Morgan, who had worked at Coventry’s University Hospital, had been “deeply ashamed of his actions” and had shown remorse.

A lawyer representing the doctor told the hearing that the maximum sanction of being permanently struck off was “fundamentally disproportionate to the facts of this case”.

He was also described as a ‘highly competent doctor’ and the panel concluded he was less likely to re-offend in future. As a result, the panel ruled Morgan should be banned from practising as a doctor for 12 months.