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Friday, 27 September, 2002, 17:26 GMT 18:26 UK
Better care call after epilepsy death
Patricia and Jeanette Findlay
Patricia and Jeanette Findlay called for action
A 17-year-old girl who died from an epileptic seizure could still be alive if she had been given proper treatment, a sheriff has said.

Colette Findlay, from Springboig, in Glasgow, died in 1998 after she had a severe epileptic seizure in bed.

A fatal accident inquiry into her death highlighted failures by health professionals and the disclosure led to calls for improvements from her family.

Sheriff James Taylor, in his written findings, concluded that Colette's death could have been avoided if "a catalogue of errors" had not been made.

Colette Findlay
Colette died in 1998

Colette's mother, Diane Findlay, died from an epileptic seizure in March 1989, leaving her in the care of her two aunts, Jeanette and Patricia Findlay.

Sheriff Taylor said patients with an epileptic condition should be provided with a co-ordinated care plan.

Following the inquiry at Glasgow Sheriff Court he said general practices should assess whether it was practical to set up a specialist epilepsy clinic.

Patricia Findlay called on hospitals and general practices to act on the sheriff's recommendations.

She said: "We were asked to accept that the poor care received by Colette - a young person with a significant neurological condition like epilepsy - was adequate and unconnected to her tragic and early death.

Family's hope

"We reject that view and we are pleased that Sheriff Taylor has also rejected it."

She said the family was "desperately sad" that no care plan was available for Colette.

"Epilepsy sufferers in Glasgow are entitled to expect far better standards of health care."

Solicitor Advocate Robert Carr said: "The sadness is that these guidelines and recommendations have not been implemented by doctors - thus far.

"The family hope that given the determination made by Sheriff Taylor these findings will be acted upon."

A Scottish Executive spokesman said: "We recognise that the co-ordination of services for people with epilepsy can be further improved and we are now moving towards that through the establishment of Managed Clinical Networks (MCNs).

"MCNs are an imaginative and innovative way of developing services to link together all the points at which patient care is delivered."

He added: "It is an approach which Scotland is pioneering, and one which has gained the support of Epilepsy Action Scotland and the clinicians concerned, not least because the involvement of patients is at the core of the concept."

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BBC's David Henderson reports
"For the family justice is at last being done"
See also:

20 May 02 | Health
05 Mar 02 | Health
18 Oct 01 | Health
29 Nov 01 | England
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