A nurse involved in a Stafford Hospital tragedy in which two babies died from morphine overdoses has been allowed to keep working.
Harry and Alfie McQuillan were accidentally given more than 10 times the prescribed amount of the painkiller by intensive care staff.
Joanne Thompson, who was the nurse in charge at the time, has been found guilty of not being present when the morphine was administered to both twins, checking that the dosage was correct, and not summoning help to check the drug.
A conduct and competence committee at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) found that despite her blunders her ‘main concern was to save the life of the twins’, and determined that her actions did not amount to misconduct.
NMC panel chairman Graham Park said: “You demonstrated extreme remorse for the twins having been harmed during your shift. You made the reasonable assessment that Lisa Lucas and Dr Adina Olariu were competent to perform the task they had undertaken. In the panel’s judgement these admitted charges, which merely state the factual position at the time, cannot amount to misconduct.
“In the panel’s judgement, a finding of no misconduct in these particular circumstances would not undermine the public confidence in the nursing profession. There is no evidence to suggest that your current practice presents any risk to patients.”
After it was realised the babies had been given the high dosage, they were rushed to the specialist unit at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke but it was too late to reverse the effects of the drug.
The incident took place in the early hours of the morning of October 30, 2010, in the special care baby unit at Stafford Hospital.
Thompson was cleared of allowing the administration of morphine at an inappropriate rate, failing to take the clinical lead, failing to adequately supervise staff, not calling for further assistance and record-keeping errors.