Adam Cheshire: Mother of boy left brain damaged after hospital failings during birth awarded payout
The mother of a boy who was severely disabled during his birth following mistakes at a scandal-hit hospital has secured a huge payout after suing the NHS.
Reverend Charlotte Cheshire’s son Adam was brain damaged at Shrewsbury Hospital following one of Britain’s worst maternity scandals.
Adam contracted group B strep (BGS) and meningitis and spent a month in intensive care after botched medics missed opportunities to diagnose the infections.
Rev Cheshire, 45, said her newborn son was not given antibiotics until seven hours after the first telltale signs were spotted and he was fighting for his life.
Adam is now 11 years old and is severely disabled – autistic, developmentally delayed and both visually and hearing impaired with behavioral problems.
He will likely be dependent on others to take care of him for the rest of his life and will be unable to work.
His mother took legal action against the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust and secured a payout expected to be worth millions of pounds last Monday.
The trust agreed to shoulder 80 percent of responsibility for Adam’s brain injury and make an interim payment yet to be determined by judges.
Rev. Cheshire of Newport, Shrops., has now vowed to continue to campaign for a change in maternity standards after successfully suing the hospital in London’s High Court.
The Church of England priest said: “My pregnancy with Adam was textbook in many ways, but it felt like that changed when my waters broke.
“From that point on I just had the maternal instinct that something was wrong, but I was reassured so many times by the midwives that everything was fine.
“At no point in my pregnancy or in the hours after Adam was born was I told about group B strep.
“Later on, after reviewing my records, I found that early in my pregnancy it was decided that I would not be tested for GBS because I did not have the risk factors involved.
“It was very difficult to learn that this was being considered but not discussed with me given the possible outcome.
“While Adam is adorable and I’m so grateful to have him in my life, it’s hard not to think how things could have been much different for him had he received the care he should have.
“Adam will never lead an independent life and will be dependent on care for life,” she continued. “Nothing will ever make up for what he went through, but today we can try to look to the future as a family knowing we have the answers we deserve and the peace of mind that Adam’s needs will be taken care of.”
Adam was born at Shrewsbury Hospital on March 25, 2011, almost 35 hours after her waters broke.
In the hours after his birth, Adam struggled to feed, cried and began grunting, all signs of early onset group B streptococcus (GBS). The bacterial infection can lead to life-threatening conditions like meningitis if not treated quickly.
About 14 hours after his birth, Adam was transferred to a neonatal intensive care unit.
The next day he was diagnosed with GBS and meningitis and had to fight for his life.
Rev. Cheshire hired experienced medical negligence attorneys to investigate the family’s care under the trust.
They noted that there were several missed opportunities to monitor Adam in the hours after he was born and realize he was at risk of infection.
There was also a failure to escalate his care to pediatricians given his non-feeding, high-pitched overnight crying and grunting, lawyers said.
The next phase of his case will be to determine the amount of compensation Adam needs to help fund the lifelong specialist care and therapy he needs.
In another tragic blow to the family, Adam’s father Chris died of cancer in 2020.
Sara Burns, Irwin Mitchell’s medical negligence attorney representing Charlotte, said: “While the maternity flaws that have been allowed to manifest themselves at Shrewsbury and Telford for many years are well documented, their shocking nature never abates.
“We believe Adam’s caring was typical of many issues that families have raised.
“Serial observations were missed, signs that should have been acted on were not, and serious illnesses were diagnosed too late.
“We continue to receive many first-hand reports from families across the UK who are affected by maternity care issues.”
Family care was also examined as part of the Ockenden review of maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals.
The full Ockenden Review report on maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals was released last March after a five-year investigation.
The damning report identified 60 areas where care should be improved at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust hospitals.
Inadequate staff training, fatalities that are dismissed or improperly investigated, and a culture of not listening to families were among the problems identified in the report.
A Trust spokesman for Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust said The Independent: “We sincerely apologize for the shortcomings in the care of this family, unfortunately we cannot comment on ongoing legal cases.”