Premature twins died after being given 10 times too much morphine, nursing tribunal hears

Premature twins died after being given 10 times too much morphine, nursing tribunal hears
Alfie and Harry McQuillan were born at 27 weeks in October 2010Were in a 'good condition' despite being born so early, inquest heardPrescribed morphine to stabilise them but instead given 'excessive dose'Died at scandal-hit Stafford Hospital two days later
Nurse in charge, Joanne Thompson, now facing disciplinary hearingAccused of letting less senior member of staff administer wrong dose


But it was decided to give the twins
morphine to stabilise them before they were transferred to the maternity
unit at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire where the twins
died on November 1st.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council
(NMC) heard today how an error in administration led to the babies
having two doses of morphine administered at the same time.

Miss Thompson is accused of not following hospital protocol by allowing a junior doctor to be involved in the administration of medication.

Aj Hall, for the NMC, said: 'On the hospital protocols it clearly states that medication administration should be carried out by two registered nurses. It is well known doctors do not get involved in administrating drugs as this is done by nursing staff.

'Mrs Thompson should have ensured that this policy was complied with. The junior doctor had very limited experience and should not have been involved in administering the drugs.

'Mrs Thompson would have been well aware of this.' She added: 'It is vital she take responsibility for this.'

Thompson is also accused of not keeping adequate records by scribbling out her signature on the morphine prescription charts without explanation, the court heard.

Miss Hall added: 'She scribbled out her signature on the chart but never explained why she did this.'

Shoosmiths – the law firm representing the twins’ parents – said last May that South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh had described the babies’ treatment after birth as 'suboptimal', adding that 'there were failings in the care the twins received'.

A spokesman for the company said the coroner, who recorded a narrative verdict at Cannock Coroner’s Court, said the boys died from complications of extreme prematurity and that morphine was 'likely to have played a role'.

The hearing comes after the Francis inquiry into failings at Stafford Hospital where it is estimated there were between 400 and 1,200 excess deaths between 2005 and 2009.

The hearing continues.