Alexandra Briess: Aspiring doctor, 17, tragically died of allergic reaction to drug given to her during routine surgery
READING, ENGLAND : After having an allergic response to a medication administered to her during a routine procedure, an aspiring doctor tragically died. The 17-year-old, Alexandra Briess, died from an adverse response to a common anesthetic while having her tonsils removed.
The 'bright and well-loved adolescent received Rocuronium as part of a normal operation with the NHS in Reading, Berkshire, and experienced an 'unpredictable' fatal allergic reaction to the medicine. Senior coroner Heidi Connor has expressed concern that a "lack of national leadership" may result in more deaths of allergy patients.
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'Sudden deterioration and cardiac arrest'
Connor has written to the government appealing for better funding and study into the disease, as well as the formation of an allergies tsar, claiming that the "tragic" case was "not the new territory" and noting three recent incidents of people who had died from anaphylaxis. Alexandra, who intended to study medicine and help at a children's charity, experienced "sudden deterioration and cardiac arrest" after taking the drug for the first time, as reported by Daily Mail.
The coroner has written to Health Secretary Steve Barclay, the NHS, and allergy organizations to demand action in response to Alexandra's inquest. UK allergy groups have long advocated for additional funding for the field's infamously underfunded research. The NHS should establish a new position to serve as the national coordinator of financing and research for allergens, according to Connor's proposal, as reported by The Mirror.
'Requires national leadership'
At the moment, the organizations are already set up and demonstrate "goodwill" toward understanding allergies, but they still need to "join up" and collaborate. In her Prevention of Future Deaths report, Connor warns that more individuals are at risk of death if this is the case. She wrote, "The only way to improve understanding and prevent or reduce future deaths is to gather information nationally and fund appropriate research. Appropriate organizations already exist, and there is a lot of goodwill toward improving understanding in this area. It does, however require national leadership and 'joining up' of these organisations," according to Judiciary.uk.
She further added, "There is significant goodwill and desire to improve amongst numerous organisations involved in anaphylaxis work. What is lacking is national leadership and funding. In my view, consideration should be given to creating a leadership role and responsibility within NHS England to coordinate a national approach."
The inquest into Briess' death revealed that she had received Rocuronium before she died on May 31, 2021, at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. She underwent an unremarkable tonsillectomy the week prior, but on May 30, she needed additional surgery due to post-operative hemorrhage. She experienced the reaction while under anesthesia and was helpless.
'Loyal and loving friend'
Friends affectionately remembered the "beautiful" girl who was a "loyal and loving friend with a great sense of humor" as they donated to a tribute page set up in her honor, raising almost $11170 (£9,000). Briess is survived by her father David, a retired physician, and mother Tanya, a GP practice nurse. The household in Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, which purchased its $1.86 million (£1.5 million) home in 2007, declined to comment, as per reports.