2:15pm Monday 3rd March 2014
By Helen Morton
A YOUNG Basingstoke woman admitted to hospital for a routine operation died just weeks later, suffering “pain beyond words at the hands of those who were meant to care for her”, an inquest heard.
Twenty-year-old Elisha Langley passed away on December 23, 2012, suffering from an abscess in her brain.
The inquest heard that a brain abscess was: “a very rare complication of a very common operation.”
An inquest in Southampton was today told Elisha was first admitted to Basingstoke hospital on November 19 for an operation to remove a sebaceous cyst from the side of her head.
Consultant surgeon Fenella Welsh told the coroner’s court that the cyst itself was not harmful, but that it was growing larger and causing Elisha some discomfort.
Talking about the operation, she said: “In hindsight, it was not in Elisha’s best interests.”
Elisha’s mother Julie Langley, of Worting Road, said that her daughter’s death has had a devastating impact on her and on the whole family.
She described her daughter, who had learning difficulties and was unable to communicate easily, as a “beautiful soul and an angel who brought happiness to so many lives”.
In a statement read out at the start of the inquest, Mrs Langley said her daughter had suffered “pain beyond words at the hands of those who were meant to care for her”.
The inquest heard Elisha was admitted as a day case for surgery but became very unwell after she returned home following the operation.
She was readmitted to the hospital as an emergency admission on December 1.
Ms Welsh, who carried out observations on Elisha on December 4, told the inquest that she was suffering from a nasty wound infection and had not been able to tolerate the oral antibiotics prescribed by the hospital.
Following a course of intravenous antibiotics and treatment of the wound, she was discharged on December 6, but just two days later was admitted once more, very unwell.
Ms Welsh said that she was concerned Elisha was suffering with another infection, but did not consider the possibility that her patient could be suffering from an abscess in the brain, despite the fact Elisha was exhibiting some signs of raised intracranial pressure such as vomiting and appeared to have problems with her vision.
She said: “Elisha was not able to tell us if she had a headache”, adding that this meant they were more reliant on symptoms such as blood pressure and temperature, all of which appeared to be normal.
By December 21, Elisha was “in agony”, according to her family and Ms Welsh ordered a full body CT scan- something which her family had previously “begged for”, the inquest heard.
This scan revealed the brain abscess. Ms Welsh said that she was both horrified and relieved with the diagnosis. She said: “It never occurred to me that she would die."
Ms Welsh told the inquest that the abscess was so severe it must have developed over some time, but could not pinpoint when it was likely to have set in.
The surgeon admitted that the notes compiled by the hospital throughout the treatment of Elisha were “not good” and said there has since been a review into the way notes are kept.
In her statement, Elisha's mother said the family's concerns were "constantly ignored and made to feel stupid and unimportant."
She added: "Yet these reports have the nerve to say if only she could have communicated with us things would have been different. Elisha may not have been able to speak but we were then, and still are, her voice. Time and time again every concern we had was brushed aside with staggering arrogance. How you cared so little for my defenceless daughter only you involved know and will have to live with.
"Your actions, or lack of them, have devastated so many lives you have no idea of the impact you have caused to my world. What was meant to be a day operation turned out to be a life changing event."
She pointed out that every concern she had was "ignored time after time when we brought them up" but these were now validated in the reports.
She added: "You pushed our concerns aside causing my Elisha to suffer pain not felt by anyone in this room. She paid for that pain with her life. She paid for your mistakes with her life, her life gone because we trusted in you.”
The inquest, which is scheduled to last five days, continues.
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