Evidence heard from independent expert

Inquest into the death of Elisha Langley hears how

Inquest into the death of Elisha Langley hears how "alarm bells" should have been raised after Basingstoke hospital operation

First published in News
Last updated
by , Senior Reporter

AN INQUEST into the death of Elisha Langley heard this morning from the consultant neurosurgeon who operated on the 20-year-old after she collapsed in Southampton hospital.

Dr Jonathan Duffill told the inquest that when he first saw Elisha on December 21, 2012 he was “disappointed” that she had not been referred to him by Basingstoke hospital earlier.

As previously reported in The Gazette, Elisha, of Worting Road, did not receive a CT scan which diagnosed the abscess she had in her brain until December 21- the same day that she collapsed and never recovered.

She was first admitted to Basingstoke hospital for an operation to remove a sebaceous cyst from her head on November 19 and was readmitted twice in the following weeks, suffering from symptoms including vomiting.

Mr Duffill expressed surprise that a defect in Elisha’s skull, which would have prompted further investigation, was not picked up on at Basingstoke hospital.

He said: “The need to do a scan would have been recognised here if the signs of a skull defect had been recognised.”

He said that in these cases, the earlier the abscess is identified and the earlier the operation to drain it is performed, the more likely it is that the patient will survive.

The inquest also heard from independent expert Professor John Macfie who said he believed Elisha had a defect of the skull which could have been picked up during the initial operation to remove a sebaceous cyst from her head on November 19.

The operation was carried out by Dr Kandiah Chandrakumaram at Basingstoke hospital.

On Tuesday, he told the inquest that the defects he saw “were of no significance at all” and said he was satisfied that they were the result of the long-standing cyst.

However, Professor Macfie said: “I have never seen or heard of an erosion on the skull in association with a simple sebaceous cyst.”

He said that these defects, along with the results of the CT scan, convinced him that the cyst originated in the bones of the skull, not in the skin.

He told coroner Keith Wiseman that the observed defects and the high level of bleeding “should have raised alarm bells”.

He agreed with the coroner’s statement to him that “further assessment could and should have been triggered.”

Professor Macfie also told the coroner that he believed Elisha’s chances of survival were remote, even if the CT scan had been carried out earlier, in part because of her very low body weight.

The inquest was told that Elisha had the stature of a 10-year-old girl.

Elisha, who suffered from congenital dysmorphic syndrome and scoliosis, collapsed at Southampton hospital on December 21 after being transferred there from Basingstoke hospital.

She was operated on by neurosurgeons at the hospital when she was in a coma, but she never recovered and her family made the difficult decision to turn off her life support machine on December 23.

Elisha’s mother, Julie Langley, left the room in tears as details of her daughter’s final days were read by Mr Wiseman.

After the inquest, a family statement was read, describing Elisha as a “happy-go-lucky child who loved music.”

It added: “She brought immense joy to all her all her close family and friends.”

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