In memory of Adam
16 May 2018
When Adam passed away aged 34, his mother Cathy chose to make an in-memory donation to the hospital that looked after him throughout his childhood.
Adam was rushed to Evelina London at four days old. Doctors diagnosed him with a range of severe congenital heart defects, as well as a condition which meant his tiny body couldn’t fight infections properly.
He had two major heart operations at Evelina London aged just four weeks and five weeks old. The surgery saved Adam’s life and seven difficult months later, he returned home from hospital after a slow recovery. His care needs remained complex though; Adam needed to be fed through a tube and breathing was difficult for him.
In the years that followed, Adam’s low resistance to infections resulted in many hospital re-admissions. It was discovered that he had a learning disability, scoliosis, severe hearing loss and visual impairment. When he was 18, Adam sadly lost his sight altogether.
After the first operations, Cathy had been told her son would need further heart surgery later in his life. Aged 11, he went back to Evelina London for the operation on the August bank holiday weekend. This marked the beginning of a four month stay at the hospital, due to many life-threatening complications Adam suffered after the procedure.
Cathy stayed at Ronald McDonald House the entire time so she could be with Adam. She remembers various staff members who supported him during his time there until he was able to return home just in time for Christmas.
‘A play therapist came to play with him several times a week, which he looked forward to,’ recalls Cathy. ‘There was a hospital teacher who visited Adam until he was well enough to go to the classroom on another floor – they had a good relationship together. He also had support from two physiotherapists to help him build up the strength in his legs so that he could walk again.’
Years later, towards the end of 2017, Adam became severely unwell with enlargement to one side of his heart. The family were told that there was nothing more to be done for Adam, apart from making him more comfortable. He received care at St Thomas’ Hospital to help with this, before returning home in January.
Adam took his last breath on Friday 19 January 2018. He requested some of the things he loved – a bubble bath and to wear his favourite top – before being helped into bed, surrounded by those closest to him.
‘Despite all the challenges Adam had to face, he was such a fighter and made the best of his life, never losing his sense of humour and infectious smile,’ says Cathy.
‘As a child, the medical team at Evelina London saved Adam’s life twice through his major heart surgery – once in 1984 and again in 1995. The one comfort I have from losing Adam, 34 years after his first operation, is that the medical team at St Thomas’ did everything in their power to help him in his final weeks.’
As a result of the care shown to her son, Cathy asked friends and family to make donations to Evelina London in Adam’s memory.
‘Adam was very precious to me and to all those who knew him. I am grateful that we had at least 34 years with him, which wouldn’t have happened without the care and expertise of Evelina London,’ says Cathy.
‘Although I know it’s just a drop in the ocean, any money donated - no matter how small - soon adds up and contributes to the hospital’s ability to continue providing expert care and treatment to save lives, like they did for Adam.’