University College Hospital apologises to Gaia Young family

Former Camden School for Girls pupil, Gaia Young, in El Salvador

Former Camden School for Girls pupil, Gaia Young, in El Salvador - Credit: Busayo Agbetuyi/ Dorit Young

University College Hospital has apologised to the family of Gaia Young after an inquest found medics may have failed to give her the best chance of survival. 

The “healthy” 25-year-old who lived in Gibson Square, Barnsbury, died of a brain condition last July. She entered hospital after feeling unwell following a day cycling in the sun. 

Yesterday (February 15) an inquest heard Gaia - the daughter of Labour peer Lord Michael Young - was incorrectly suspected by hospital (UCLH) medics to be intoxicated when she arrived at A&E looking “confused” and “sleepy”.

Senior coroner Mary Hassell found Gaia had died of a cerebral edema – a condition which causes the brain to swell – after hearing evidence from medical experts involved in the case.

The cause of the condition, which worsened rapidly and was not immediately diagnosed, remains unknown after a series of missteps in Gaia’s care, the inquest heard.

Crucial scans which could have detected the illness were not carried out and clinicians may have developed “confirmation bias” which caused them to miss other signs.

Dorit Uhlemann, Lady Young, was not allowed to go with her daughter to hospital due to coronavirus restrictions at the time and said she was “not kept informed”. 

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Gaia suffered a respiratory arrest and died at the same hospital on July 21. 

Dr Thomas Samuels, one of the medics caring for Gaia, apologised in the inquest for the lack of communication.

Following the hearing, the hospital has moved to acknowledge the mistakes and has offered to meet with Lady Young. 

A UCLH spokesperson added: “Our heartfelt condolences go to Gaia’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time.

“We are sorry Gaia’s mother was not kept updated as she should have been during her daughter’s care and we recognise the distress this has caused.

“The coroner could not say that different care could have prevented Gaia’s death but we acknowledge some things could have been done better. We are developing new clinical guidance and training in response to the learning from our investigation.

“We have invited Gaia’s mother to meet with us to discuss our findings and offer our support.”

Additional reporting by Nina Lloyd, PA