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Mid Staffs nurse cleared of misconduct in death of twins

A senior children’s nurse who was alleged to be unfit to practice following the death of premature twins in her care has been cleared of any misconduct.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council panel heard Joanne Thompson was the most senior staff nurse on duty at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust’s special care baby unit when the twins were delivered at 27 weeks in October 2010.

The babies died after receiving at least 12 times the prescribed dose of morphine. Although Ms Thompson had not administered the drug the NMC alleged her fitness to practise was impaired as she had allowed a less experienced nurse and an inexperienced junior doctor to give the drug when she should have known the medic was not competent to do.

However, the panel agreed with witnesses that it was accepted if a medic took on a task they were signalling they were competent to do so.

Giving their decision the panel said there was “no evidence” to suggest Ms Thompson’s current standard of practice “presented any risk to the public” but rather showed she was a “highly competent nurse”.

Ms Thompson was the fourth registrant from Mid Staffs to face an NMC hearing in public. Registered midwife Bonka Kostava was struck off earlier this year. The case of accident and emergency sisters Sharon Turner and Tracy White, who are alleged to have falsified waiting times and used abusive language to staff and patients, was adjourned on Friday after over running its allotted two weeks’ time. It will reconvene in July. No restrictions have been placed on their practice in the meantime.

The case of former nursing director Jan Harry, who is charged with failing to ensure enough staff on the wards, is due to begin on Monday.

Readers' comments (4)

  • michael stone

    'However, the panel agreed with witnesses that it was accepted if a medic took on a task they were signalling they were competent to do so.'

    That strikes me as reasonable (but the doctor apparently wasn't competent, as it turns out).

    I'm still a little surprised that the dose was out by a factor of 12 - a factor of 10 is an obvious mistake (that you should be alert for) but where did this factor of 12 come from ? 12 hours in half-a-day ?

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  • It's a bit scary that when you are in charge of a ward you can be blamed for someone else's drug error when you weren't involved in making it at all. At least the panel accept that she wasn't to blame. She should be left alone now, and should not have had her photograph put in the press.

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  • anon 11.08 - I think many people will agree with your comments, this nurse was not guilty of any wrongdoing so why has it been reported in the first place. why does the 'story' need to include other staff who have nothing to do with this 'incident'?

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  • Perhaps when the press next 'report' on a nurse who has been accused of making a mistake or error of judgement during her working day, they might just reflect that when they have a 'bad day' no one but a small number of colleagues know about it. For a nurse however their may be tragic consequences and continuing repercussions. That is the reality of nursing!

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