A mother-of-three tragically died after doctors cancelled two life-saving operations because the woman had head lice.
Lindsay Swanson, 34, was reportedly diagnosed with acute pancreatitis that was itself caused by gallstones. After first being admitted, doctors told Swanson that she would undergo two different live-saving procedures within six weeks, but eight months passed, and doctors refused to perform the procedures because Swanson had head lice.
“It is less than ideal to operate on somebody with severe lice infestation,” said Dr. Clare Brown of Leicester General Hospital.
Doctors feared that the lice would cause Swanson to scratch her head and cause lacerations that could get easily infected following the procedures.
“The doctors told us they were not going to operate because Lindsay had head lice,” said Lindsay’s partner, Lee Dunning. “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.”
Between October of 2012, when she first started experience pains from the pancreatitis, and June of 2013, when she tragically passed, Lindsay’s condition reportedly got progressively worse. Ultimately, the cause of death was determined to be multi-organ failure caused by pancreatitis.
Matthew Metcalf, a gallbladder surgeon at Leicester General Hospital, told The Daily Mirror that 20 percent of people with pancreatitis are in a high-risk category, and Lindsay was one of the 20 percent.
“Half of those 20 percent die, and she was one of those,” Metcalf said. “I don't think there was anything that could have been done that would have affected the outcome.”
Despite Metcalf’s claims, a hearing is underway to determine if doctors were indeed at fault for Swanson’s tragic death.