Mum-of-three dies after she had two operations cancelled because she had head lice

A mum-of-three died after she had two operations cancelled because she had NITS, an inquest has heard.

Lindsay Swanson, 34, was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis but died eight months later of multi-organ failure after surgeons refused to operate on her because she had head lice.

She never had the surgery she needed to remove gall stones that were causing the life-threatening condition.

Her distraught partner Lee Dunning told the Leicester Town Hall that medics had refused to operate because of she had head lice.

Lindsay Swanson, 34, died after she had two operations cancelled because she had head lice

Lindsay Swanson, 34, died after she had two operations cancelled because she had head lice

He told the inquest: “The doctors told us they were not going to operate because Lindsay had head lice.

“She was very upset.

“We went home. I treated her hair and it started to fall out. She was not well at all and going downhill slowly.”

Assistant coroner Lydia Brown heard that that Lindsay was told she would have the gall stones surgically removed within six weeks after she was admitted to Leicester General Hospital with severe abdominal pains in October 2012.

Lee, who lived with Lindsay in Leicester, said it was not until February 2013 – by which point her weight had dropped from 20st 13lbs to 12st 2lbs – that his partner went to the hospital for a pre-operative assessment with the surgery due the day after.

He told the inquest that Lindsay had gone into the hospital for another pre-operative assessment in March but was again told the surgery would not be going ahead the next day.

Dr Yazdiwe, who worked in the pre-operative assessment unit, said Ms Swanson was not having the surgery as she had head lice and they had concerns over her faster than normal heart beat.

She said they wanted to discuss the matter with Lindsay’s GP but that she refused to give them permission.

And tragically on April 1, Lindsay was taken to hospital by ambulance and died on June 6.

Pathologist Lawrence Brown said she had died of multi-organ failure caused by pancreatitis – an inflammation of the pancreas.

Dr Clare Brown, who was a senior surgeon at Leicester General Hospital in 2013, said: “It is less than ideal to operate on somebody with severe lice infestation.”

She said that the condition could lead to the scalp of the patient having microscopic lacerations from scratching which could lead to infection.

The inquest also heard from Matthew Metcalf, a consultant gall bladder surgeon at Leicester General Hospital, who said Lindsay was one of the 20 percent of people in the high risk category who suffer severe pancreatitis.

He said: “Half of those 20 percent die and she was one of those.

“I don’t think there was anything that could have been done that would have affected the outcome.”

He said it was the correct procedure for the hospital to have kept Lindsay in for a week after she was admitted with abdominal pains back in October 2012.

She was treated for pain and after a scan showed she had gall stones, she was given painkillers and discharged.

Metcalf said that there was no cure for severe pancreatitis and all that could be done in cases like Lindsay’s is help them be comfortable and as pain-free as possible.

The hearing continues.