Doctor pushed for brain surgery for tragic boxer
A&E consultant told by neurosurgeons that Mike Towell’s injury was ‘unsurvivable’
An A&E consultant told the inquiry into the death of Scottish boxer Mike Towell he was “surprised and disappointed” surgeons felt they could not operate.
Ryan Connelly, 37, said Mr Towell was “profoundly unconscious” when he arrived at the emergency department of Glasgow Royal Infirmary and was given an emergency CT scan.
He said he went to phone a surgeon because “if anything was going to save his life it would be immediate neurosurgery”.
However, Mr Connelly said he was told “it was an unsurvivable injury and would not be amenable to neurosurgery”.
The emergency medicine doctor said he pushed for Mr Towell to be transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s neurosurgery intensive care unit.
Dr Christopher Greenhalgh also described how he tended to Mr Towell immediately after he collapsed in the ring, and travelled with him to hospital after the boxer had fallen unconscious.
The doctors gave evidence for a second day at the probe into the 25-yearold fighter’s death at Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday.
Mr Towell, from Dundee, died of a bleed on the brain the day after he lost a bout in the fifth round to Welsh fighter Dale Evans on September 29 2016.
Known as Iron Mike, the welterweight fighter collapsed after his loss to Evans in the British title eliminator at Glasgow’s St Andrews Sporting Club.
He was taken to hospital but died 24 hours later on September 30.
Dr Greenhalgh said he entered the ring with Dr Ronald Sydney after the fight stopped.
He said the boxer was conscious, knew where he was and what day it was, and initially obeyed instructions.
However, Dr Greenhalgh said Mr Towell became unsteady and his speech incoherent and when they lay him on the floor, he fell unconscious.
Mr Connelly said when the 25-yearold arrived at the hospital with the two doctors he was “profoundly unconscious” and did not open his eyes when they tried to stimulate through mild pain.
He said he decided to anaesthetise him and give him a brain scan.
Mr Connelly said: “I could see the scan myself, I was very quickly aware he had a significant injury to his brain.”
He said Mr Towell had a large bleed inside the top layer of his brain and significant intracranial swelling.
He said he suffered a midline shift, which meant the brain had been shifted from the left to the right by 13mm.
Mr Connelly said: “I actually left he CT scan room to phone the neurosurgeon.”
Depute fiscal Eileen Beadsworth asked what the specialists’ response was.
He said he was told that “it’s an unsurvivable injury he had and would not be amenable to neurosurgery”.
Asked if he agreed, he said he did not think as a non-neurosurgeon it was his place to agree or disagree but said: “I was quite surprised and disappointed they didn’t feel this was something they could operate on.”
The inquiry, before Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull, continues.