Parents of baby who died at Nottingham City Hospital say it was 'the hospital experience from hell'

  • ITV News Central Health Correspondent Nancy Cole spoke exclusively to the family of Adaora Maduako, who died when she was five months old at Nottingham City Hospital. The family say they experienced bullying and intimidation.

The parents of a baby girl who died in January at the Nottingham hospital trust under investigation for its maternity services believe a culture of intimidation and lies led to failings in care. 

Adaora Maduako and her twin brother were born prematurely at 25 weeks at Nottingham City Hospital in September 2022 - the same month Donna Ockenden's review into maternity services began. 

The twins were put on a ventilator, but concerns were raised by their parents when they were told the babies' lungs were bleeding.

Sharma Thomas, the twins' mother, said when they questioned why, they were met with hostility.

"I asked when that was done, could you have scratched them? They just said no, it couldn't have been from that," she said.

"They just seemed very hostile and from that point on, anything that was raised they were just very defensive."

The couple said they were subjected to bullying and intimidation by staff. They began to document and record their concerns in a 250-page file including photos and secret recordings. 

Ama Maduako, the twins' father, has called it "the hospital experience from hell".

"They were trying to use the fact that I'm a bigger, black guy, frankly, to imply that I was aggressive - I'm not aggressive."

Ama said: "Staff members would make medical errors with our children, leaving them with black eyes, leaving UV light shining on their eyes.

"They would speak to us rudely and with hostility. Any time we tried to criticise what they were doing to the management, they would deny what was happening, attack us and reverse who the victim and offender were."

In January 2023, Adaora died in hospital. She was five months old. 

In January 2023, Adaora died in hospital. She was five-months-old. 

The family’s story is now part of the Ockenden review into maternity care in Nottingham, chaired by senior midwife Donna Ockenden.

It is set to examine 1,700 cases in what has now become the largest maternity investigation in NHS history. 

This week, at its annual meeting Nottingham University Hospital Trust promised a ‘new, honest and transparent’ relationship with families. However, concerns remain from black and minority ethnic families of mistrust and not being heard. 

Less than 20 families from Black and Asian communities are currently involved in the inquiry. Ms Ockenden has previously spoken of maternity letters only being sent in England and women unable to access translation services. 

Ama said he wants other black families to know they will be supported if they speak to the review team.

"If there's other families out there, I want them to know that I know what it's like and coming forward is the right thing to do.

"We know that the staff are stretched and there's a crisis in general in the NHS, but at the end of the day, there has to be some accountability." 

In a statement a spokesperson from NUH has said: "We offer our deepest condolences to Sharma Thomas and Ama Maduako for the loss of Adaora.

"Yesterday we made a public commitment to better listen and engage with women and families, and we have heard the concerns raised by Sharma and Ama. 

"We are committed to working with them on the best way to review and respond that best meets their needs."