Gaia Young, daughter of Lord Young, was confused and drowsy after being admitted to hospital, she was unable to say what she had been doing, uttering only a few words
A doctor has recalled the haunting last words of Gaia Young, daughter of Lord Young, during an inquest into her sudden and unexplained death.
Doctors said Ms Young, whose father was the late social entrepreneur and Labour peer Michael Young, was confused and falling asleep when she was admitted, the only thing she as able to tell staff was “I made a mistake”.
An A&E doctor reported how Gaia Young, 25, was unable to explain to clinicians what the matter was when she was admitted to University College Hospital having fallen severely ill after going out for a bike ride and meeting friends on July 17.
Although she often repeated the phrase “I made a mistake” the young artist was unable to give a detailed account of her day in her drowsy state, the inquest heard.
Dr Zoe Veary, who saw Ms Young after she reached A&E, said she thought the patient may be intoxicated “because of her age and her history of being with friends”.
Medics later assessed the risk as less likely while they explored a range of diagnostic possibilities, the inquest heard.
Ms Young appeared “dehydrated and agitated” and was seen rolling on the bed and holding her abdomen, Dr Veary said.
The doctor said in a statement: “When I asked if she had been drinking she said ‘not enough’.
“She often made the comment ‘I made a mistake’.”
Ms Young was given fluid resuscitation but her condition worsened and she eventually stopped breathing properly the following afternoon, the inquest heard.
She suffered respiratory arrest at around 3.15pm, which meant a procedure to diagnose her condition – known as a lumbar puncture – could not be completed, doctors said.
There was no “neurological recovery” following the deterioration during the procedure and Ms Young later died on July 21, it was said.
Doctors believe she suffered a generalised cerebral edema – a life-threatening condition which leads to fluid developing in the brain, causing it to swell.
But the underlying cause of the cerebral edema, which medics said developed rapidly, remains unknown.
Dorit Uhlemann, Lady Young, paid tribute to her “much-loved, beautiful and healthy” daughter in a written statement read to the inquest on Monday.
“I believe that with proper care she need not have died,” Lady Young said.
“I believe she lost the chance to live. How can it be that a previously healthy young woman dies in a hospital and yet nobody knows why?”
Lady Young said her daughter had begun suffering a “sudden, severe headache with awful vomiting” at around 7.30pm at home on July 17.
“I think that Gaia would have been very scared, embarrassed and self-conscious in hospital,” she said.
The mother added she “was not kept informed” and told the inquest that her daughter had been “completely misdiagnosed” and “signs were misread”.
“(Gaia) was a responsible, polite, clean-living young woman with keen interest in her own health and in her intellectual and professional development,” Lady Young said.
“She was also very protective over me and as her only parent left would not have wanted to worry me. She was my beloved child.
“If anyone had asked me I would have told them, but it’s simply not possible that she would have been recreationally intoxicated.”
Dr Thomas Samuels, who was involved in the lumbar puncture, acknowledged that “communication during the course of the day would ideally have been better” with Ms Young’s mother.
But he said he believed the right medical decisions were made in response to Ms Young’s condition based on her symptoms.
“I recognise that communication during the course of the day would ideally have been better than it was,” he said.
He added: “I wouldn’t have done anything differently.”
Dr Christian Hasford, who saw Ms Young on a ward before the procedure, said he felt the cause of Ms Young’s condition could be related to toxins or inflammation, but “did not feel this was intoxication by alcohol or a conventional recreational drug”.
Professor Michael Sheaff, a pathologist, said an autopsy showed the occurrence of a generalised cerebral edema was highly likely but added no clear medical cause of death could be found as the underlying cause of the condition had not been identified.
The inquest before Senior Coroner Mary Hassell continues on Monday.