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Kayleigh Kennard (18) died a week after a Tonsillectomy from a major hemorrhage in her throat
Medical - Other
Published: Nov 09, 2007 @ 11:46 PM
Kayleigh Kennard (18)
Feb 17, 2007
Cause of Death:
West Sussex, England
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A teenage girl died after suffering horrific complications a week after a routine tonsil operation, an inquest heard.
Kayleigh Kennard, 18, was having a nap when she suddenly woke, sat bolt upright and vomited a pint and a half of blood in front of her shocked boyfriend, eight days after having her tonsils removed in a 40,000-to-one twist of fate.
The teenage health care assistant, who dreamed of becoming a midwife and settling down to have a family, inhaled a large amount of the blood and passed out.
She managed to utter "babe, I love you. I'm going to die," to her boyfriend just before she lost consciousness.
Paramedics treated her at the scene but her breathing stopped and she had at least two heart attacks before doctors attempted, in vain, to reverse the damage.
Surgeons told a coroner that Kayleigh's operation had been routine and normal.
They said death following a tonsillectomy only happened once in every 40,000 operations.
Kayleigh's boyfriend, Dave King, told the inquest how the bubbly blonde was "very, very scared" about the operation.
She had suffered from bouts of tonsillitis for two years.
After having the risks explained to her she went under the knife at the Princess Royal hospital in Haywards Heath, West Sussex on February 9, this year.
She stayed in hospital overnight and was discharged the following day when doctors were happy with her recovery.
The inquest heard how over the following days she took painkillers to cope with the expected after-effects, but was unable to eat or drink.
A Valentine's Day meal with Mr King was also ruined as she could not stomach anything more than a little soup.
"I didn't think she was getting better," he told the hearing.
"Then just after midday on Saturday, a week after the operation, she sat up on the end of the bed and blood poured out of her mouth. It was a continuous flow.
"I ran downstairs to get a bowl and to call 999."
Horrified, he rang for an ambulance and called Kayleigh's ten-year-old sister Chloe into the house to help.
"Her last words were 'baby I love you. I'm going to die.' "That's when I dropped the phone."
With Chloe relaying information from the emergency controller, Mr King tried to help his girlfriend until paramedics arrived.
"When they were getting her out to the ambulance she appeared dead to me because her eyes were shut and she was blue," he said.
The ambulance crew tried desperately to revive the teenager as they made the journey from her home in Hove, West Sussex, to Worthing General Hospital, where ear, nose and throat consultant surgeon Duncan Wong was called in.
Mr Wong removed a blood clot at the back of her throat, only to discover a major haemorrhage from a ruptured artery.
However, Kayleigh had suffered extensive brain damage and died at 6.40 pm that evening.
Anthony Morley, who carried out the tonsillectomy, told West Sussex coroner Roger Stone: "The operation was what we would consider a routine, planned operation.
"The anaesthetic was routine.
"The findings were what we would find on normal sized tonsils.
"There were no complications at all."
He said standard procedure in the NHS following such an operation was for patients to be discharged the same day or the following day.
He added that most patients suffered either primary bleeding - within 48 hours - or secondary bleeding - after 48 hours.
Mr Wong said Kayleigh's case was "a classic case of secondary haemorrhage".
He told the court that precautions in Britain were similar to those in other countries and that a recent audit of 20,000 British tonsillectomy cases had borne out the safety procedures.
"The frequency of death after tonsillectomy is one in 40,000, so statistically it is very rare for this to happen," he said.
A post mortem examination found that Kayleigh's lungs contained a large amount of blood, which pathologist Dr Jeremy Grant said had probably occurred in the first few minutes of the emergency.
His report revealed that it was this volune of blood that had caused the irreversible brain damage and hampered efforts to rescusitate her.
Mr Stone, recording a narrative verdict, said: "This has come as a huge tragedy out of what would otherwise be expected to be a routine operation - a young lady having her tonsils removed.
"There is nothing to suggest the operation took place in anything other than a normal fashion.
"I believe in my heart that by the time Mr Wong was doing the operation Kayleigh had already suffered severe brain damage and it was not going to affect the outcome."
Following the verdict, Kayleigh's mother Debbie said: "Everyone from the hospital and ambulance did what they could.
"I think she died at home. They could not have done anything."
Mr King, who revealed Kayleigh had donated her kidneys, liver and other organs, after her death described his girlfriend as "bubbly, smiling, cheerful and loving."
"She wanted to have her training to be a midwife and have a baby with me. That was her dream," he said.
Teenager died after routine tonsil operation
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