A young woman from England who died on the operating table didn't know she had terminal cancer.
Ellie Walsh, an 18-year-old with aspirations of becoming a lawyer, died on Dec. 27 from complications during surgery to remove a tumor from her stomach, the Daily Mail reports.
The growth had been detected via scan five weeks earlier, but nobody realized how serious it was under she underwent surgery.
It wasn't until she was on the operating table that her doctors realized the full extent of her condition, and that she would likely
have died within a few months anyway.
Ellie's mother, Emma Walsh, 37, said she never got the chance to properly say goodbye to her daughter.
"We have been going to the doctors since 2014 as she has lost a lot of weight and had bad pains in her side but it was always passed off and she was given paracetamol," the mother explained. "She died during the operation but before she went in [for the operation] I told her I loved her and that I would see her later. When they told me I was in shock and my head went into a spin. You could see they were upset but they did all they could."
Emma went on to speak of Ellie's personality and life:
She was quite a private person and had a small group of friends, but they have stuck by her all the way through school. They loved partying and even though Ellie was usually quiet, she would talk to anyone on a night out.
I am taking comfort from the fact Ellie got to do all the things she wanted to do as had she had known, she wouldn't have enjoyed herself as much. Ellie was so kind and funny. She was a great sister and daughter. She had a great sense of humor but was so brave. I will miss her forever.
Ellie's best friend, Mary-Anne McNulty, penned a heartfelt tribute online. "I went to primary school with Ellie and we started secondary school together until she left to go to LSST, but we still remained as close as ever," she wrote. "Ellie was a kind, generous, beautiful and funny young girl. She will always remain my best friend and she will never be forgotten."
Ellie's mother expressed appreciation to all who paid their respects. "I want to say thanks to everyone who has got in touch," she said. "The nice things said about Ellie have been a real comfort."
Although the exact cause of death has yet to be announced, the American Cancer Society sheds light on her disease, explaining that stomach cancers typically develop slowly over the course of many years, often beginning with pre-cancerous changes that occur in the inner lining of the stomach.
The treatment options and prognosis often depend on the part of the stomach in which the cancer originated.