Pioneering brain surgery saves Guernsey teenager's life in British medical first

  • ITV Channel's Roisin Gauson speaks to Sophie Lundon and the medical team that saved her life

A Guernsey teenager has been saved by pioneering surgery after suffering a major brain injury.

The treatment's success is being hailed as a British medical first with a Southampton neurosurgeon talking the island's medical team through the operation via video call - despite them being more than 100 miles apart.

It was a lifesaving intervention with the nearest medivac flight due to take hours that patient Sophie Lundon did not have.

"Without this pioneering treatment, the outcome would have likely have been death or severe brain injury," Guernsey's Lead Consultant Aruni Sen who carried out the operation explained.

  • Guernsey's Lead Consultant Aruni Sen explains the "spectacular" moment when they knew the operation had been successful

Miss Lundon has fully recovered physically and returned to work within two months but says there are still long-term effects.

"As with any traumatic brain injury, I may look fit and healthy to anyone who sees me, but I am working hard with my family, friends, and the support of [brain injury charity] Headway, to live with the hidden impact of the injury and build a slightly different life for myself after the accident," she explained.

Miss Lundon has recovered physically and says she is working to deal with the hidden impact of her injury. Credit: ITV Channel

Miss Lundon, aged 18 at the time, was rushed to the Princess Elizabeth Hospital after a bad fall.

She was taken to the Critical Care Unit with an extradural haematoma, a potentially deadly condition where blood forms between the skull and brain.

With the immediate risk to life, Guernsey's Lead Consultant Aruni Sen decided to carry out the operation alongside Consultant Anaesthetist Anthea Pinder.

"This was the worst circumstance that you could find yourself in with a head injury," Anthea said.

"There's scary high pressure in the brain and hours before we could relieve it, so that was probably the lowest point."

Under the guidance of Consultant Neurosurgeon Jonathan Hempenstall from Southampton General Hospital on video call, the pressure was relieved and Miss Lundon stabilised.

She was then transferred to the UK for specialist care.

"All credit goes to the team in Guernsey," Consultant Hempenstall said.

"It does put people at potential risk but I believe when you’re faced with life or death in a very critical situation you can go outside the box to try something because the alternative is awful."

A medical paper has now been published marking the operation's pioneering success.

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