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Maternity scandal trust pays out over boy's brain injury


A health has accepted responsibility for a boy's brain injury after he contracted an infection following his birth.

Adam Cheshire, 11, contracted a Group B Strep (GBS) infection at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, in 2011.

A High Court judge approved a payout from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust (SaTH) to provide special care for the rest of his life.

The trust, which was behind the worst maternity scandal in NHS history, accepted 80% of the responsibility for Adam Cheshire’s injury and agreed to make an interim payment to his family.

His case was examined as part of senior midwife Donna Ockendon's investigation into SaTH which found catastrophic failures might have led to the deaths and life-changing injuries of hundreds of babies, as well as the deaths of nine mothers.

Adam Cheshire, from Newport, Shropshire, was born nearly 35 hours after his mother's waters broke on 24 March 2011.

In the hours that followed, he began to show signs of early onset GBS including struggling to feed, crying and grunting.

After weeks in intensive care, he was finally diagnosed with the infection and meningitis.

Now Adam is living with multiple conditions including hearing and visual impairments, autism, severe learning difficulties and behavioural problems so he relies on others to care for him.

His mother, the Reverend Charlotte Cheshire, said she had expressed concerns about bright green discharge at one of her last antenatal appointments but no action was taken.

She said: "From that point I just had a mother's instinct something wasn't right but I was reassured by the midwives so many times that everything was OK. At no point in my pregnancy or in the hours after Adam was born was I told about Group B Strep."

The High Court approved a liability agreement and an interim compensation payment, although the amount is yet to be determined.

Mrs Cheshire added: "While Adam is adorable and I am so thankful to have him in my life, it's difficult not to think how things could have turned out differently for him if he'd received the care he should have.

"Adam will never live an independent life and will need lifelong care. While I'm devoted to him, I'm now raising a severely disabled son, which is extremely challenging and has changed the path of both our lives forever.

"My motivation is to make sure his needs are met and cared for, that is primary. Secondly, we're trying to prevent any other family going through what I have gone through."

Ms Ockenden examined maternity practices at SaTH during 20 years and concluded her investigation last year.

It revealed at least 201 babies may have survived if they had received better maternity care, including 131 stillbirths and 70 neonatal deaths.

Nine mothers died due to major or significant concerns about their care and at least 94 children suffered avoidable harm, - including cerebral palsy and hypoxic brain injuries, due poor maternity care.

Chief executive of the charity Group B Strep Support, Jane Plumb, said: "It's devastating Adam did not get the care he needed at the time and that the severe disabilities he now lives with as a result of group B Strep meningitis could, and should, have been prevented.

"The UK falls behind so many countries by not offering GBS testing to pregnant women and people and too often not even telling them about GBS. This needs to change. Families deserve better."

A trust spokesperson for The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust said: "We are very sorry for the failings in the care provided to this family."