The mother of newborn twins who died following an overdose at a scandal-hit hospital has described their deaths as "totally avoidable" after a coroner said there were failings in their care.

Alfie and Harry McQuillan, who were born 13 weeks premature, died on November 1 2010. An inquest into their deaths heard they had been given an "excessive" dose of morphine hours after their birth at Stafford Hospital on October 30.

Access Legal from Shoosmiths - the law firm representing the twins' parents - said South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh 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 twins' mother Ami Dean, 25, from Stafford, said: "I could have coped with them dying from prematurity, as that would have been nobody's fault. However, their deaths were totally avoidable. They were down to human error, which is something I cannot cope with."

Maggie Oldham, chief operating officer at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Stafford Hospital, said: "Our deepest sympathy remains with Alfie and Harry's parents and their loved ones.

"We are very sorry that the care we provided was not good enough.

"This has been a long and difficult process for their entire family and our thoughts remain with them at this time."

Richard Follis, national head of medical negligence at Access Legal from Shoosmiths, said: "It is important that the coroner has highlighted where failings lay in the care provided to Alfie and Harry.

"Despite being born prematurely, both boys were good weights and were stable prior to the morphine overdose.

"This would appear to be a tragic case of - as the coroner put it - suboptimal treatment that could easily have been avoided."

PA

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