SUDEP Action

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Inquest into the death of James Stephens

A CORONER used rule 43 to write to health agencies recommending steps be taken to raise awareness of Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). Agencies included the Care Quality Commission.

The decision came at the end of an inquest into the death of 31-year-old James Stephens who was found dead in bed by his professional carer.

James Stephens developed epilepsy as a result of childhood meningitis. James was in good health and had been planning to propose to his girlfriend on her birthday.

James had mild to moderate learning difficulties and was provided with one-to-one support. The Inquest heard that Mr Stephens was at a high risk of SUDEP because his form of epilepsy induced absences of up to 60 seconds and violent tonic clonic seizures, affecting the entire brain and causing seizures and spasms.

At the inquest his professional carer admitted he did not know about SUDEP.

Recording a narrative verdict the coroner said: "The deceased had a known history of epilepsy and he had a full-time carer to support him.  On the day of his death he was found by his carer having died from SUDEP."