Epilepsy Action, the UK’s leading epilepsy organisation, reports that more than 600 people are diagnosed with epilepsy in the UK every week - nearly 32,000 a year - and is focussing its annual awareness campaign on this aspect of the condition this year. Globally, there are 50 million people with epilepsy which means that a significant number of the population will either be affected by the condition themselves or will have a family member or contact who is affected.
Epilepsy is a condition where there is a sudden burst of intense electrical activity in the brain, disrupting the brain’s normal function and leading to an epileptic seizure. Potential causes include a brain injury sustained during a difficult birth; trauma to the head leading to a brain injury; a stroke; a serious infection such as meningitis that affects the brain; and, potentially, a brain tumour. In many cases of epilepsy the cause cannot be determined.
Early diagnosis of epilepsy is very important so that appropriate treatment and care can be put in place as swiftly as possible. The diagnosis is usually made after recurrent seizures and on the basis of clinical assessment, the performance of Electroencephalograms (ECGs) and other investigations such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
The aim of treatment is to reduce or eradicate the seizures and to allow the individual to lead as normal a life as possible. Anti-epileptic drugs are usually prescribed to reduce seizure activity and, in many cases, the correct medication will lead to the cessation of the seizures. Other treatments may include surgery, vagal nerve stimulation and a special diet.
The Penningtons Manches clinical negligence and personal injury team specialises in helping those who have suffered brain injuries, whether as a result of clinical negligence or as a result of an accident and we often have clients who have epilepsy associated with their brain injuries. The team therefore has a deep understanding of the needs of this condition and the required support for families which have to be considered carefully before the settlement of any claim for damages.
As well as expert evidence on long term prognosis, specific areas to consider when making a claim may include:
The key is to ensure that there is access to appropriate treatment and adequate support both now and in the future.
Visit www.epilepsy.org.uk for further information.