Twins died due to premature birth at Stafford hospital, say police
Stafford Hospital: in five years from 2004, between 400 and 1,200 patients died because of “appalling” care. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Two twin boys who died soon after being born at Stafford hospital died because they arrived prematurely and not as a result of medical treatment they received, police said today.
The brothers – named today as Alfie Shaun McQuillin and Harry Stuart McQuillin – were born earlier than expected and died because of that, said Staffordshire police.
“Postmortem examinations by a Home Office pathologist proved inconclusive and further tests will now be carried out,” said a force spokeswoman. “However, preliminary results suggest that the twins died because of their prematurity rather than as a direct result of any medical treatment.”
Officers are preparing a report on the deaths, which are not being treated as suspicious, for the Stafford coroner, Andrew Haigh, the force spokeswoman added.
The boys’ parents, Phillip McQuillin and Ami Dean, today spoke of their devastation at losing their sons. In a statement they said: “We are deeply upset and distressed by the deaths of Alfie and Harry. A full investigation into the circumstances has been launched, which should now be allowed to run its course. We would ask the media to respect our privacy as we try to come to terms with what has happened.”
Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation trust, which runs the hospital, has commissioned a full external investigation into the tragedy led by a paediatrician and suspended an unnamed member of staff in connection with the deaths.
The Guardian revealed today how the trust yesterday disclosed that in a report it has given to the NHS’s National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), into what it classed as a serious untoward incident (SUI), it said that a “wrong rate of infusion” was involved in the incident, which happened at Stafford hospital on 30 October. The twins died two days later at the University hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke.
That explanation by the trust was contained in a statement to the Guardian yesterday which briefly summarised events involved in the death of five patients who had been treated at Stafford hospital since 19 March, including the twins. Each one was classed as an SUI, and a report passed to the NPSA.
The statement explained that another patient died on 17 July because of “missed diagnosis of abdominal obstruction. No referral to surgical team”. Another died after falling, and another due to “haemothorax secondary to central line insertion”.
Maggie Oldham, the Mid Staffordshire trust’s chief operating officer, today said: “Our deepest sympathy and our thoughts continue to be with the twins’ parents and their loved ones at this most difficult time. We have commissioned a full external investigation and this will be led by an independent paediatric doctor. We have been liaising closely with the police.”
Oldham also pointed to remarks that Robert Francis QC, who is chairing a public inquiry into why NHS organisations did not do more to stop what he called “appalling care” at Stafford hospital during 2005-09, made on Monday, the opening day of the inquiry.
In his opening statement, he said: “It is inevitable there will continue to be incidents giving cause for concern, both at Stafford and in other hospitals as well. Such incidents do not of themselves show that there has been no improvement, any more than that the absence of such incidents would prove everything has been put right.”
Oldham added: “We at Mid Staffs have made significant improvements. At the time of the Healthcare Commission review in 2008, this hospital’s mortality rate was in the bottom 10% in the country and now our mortality rate is in the top 10%. This however has not made us complacent and we are working continually to improve our services and the care we provide for our patients and their loved ones.”
An inquest into the twins’ death was opened and adjourned on Tuesday.
Sources : Guardian-Health