Doctor’s heartache as son dies in his sleep from condition she never heard of
A doctor has shared her grief and shock after her son died in his sleep from a condition she'd never heard of.
Anny Marrett said she's "ashamed to say" she'd never come across the condition called sudden unexpected death in epilepsy – SUDEP – before her son George died aged just 29 at home.
Her son, who had suffered from epilepsy from the age of 14, had just landed his dream job, but was working long hours in the role at Citibank and wasn't sleeping well.
He died after staying out late at a party, where he'd drunk alcohol and hadn't taken his medication.
George's flatmates were away for the weekend and nobody knew he had died until he failed to show up for work the following Monday.
Anny, a GP, told news.com.au: "He loved that job, it was his dream job. He knew he wasn’t sleeping that well.
“He’d been at a party and he’d come home late; he’d had a few drinks. He might not have taken his medication dose before the party.
“A friend called him around lunch to ask him for golf but he turned it down because he was too tired. We think a combination of lack of sleep, missing tablets and having a few drinks possibly contributed to his death."
Anny received the devastating news in a phone call on Monday Morning, telling her George had not shown up to work.
George died just two months short of his 30th birthday from SUDEP, which is the sudden and premature death of a person with epilepsy where no reason for the death is found.
It has echoes of sudden infant death syndrome – SIDS – but Anny says there is far less information about it in the public domain and she is on a mission to raise awareness about the condition.
She said: “I’m a GP but I hadn’t heard of the condition, I’m ashamed to say. There’s more awareness about SIDS.”
Epilepsy Action Australia chief executive Carol Ireland said: “The common thing I hear from grieving families is, ‘Why didn’t we know about the risks of this?’"
There are hundreds of deaths related to epilepsy each year and and many are due to SUDEP.
Carol Ireland added: “In most cases, the person is found to have passed away in bed while they were sleeping.
“Reducing risk factors associated with SUDEP and epilepsy mortality can save lives and give patients with epilepsy peace of mind.
"The conversation about risk between doctor and patients with epilepsy needs to be accepted as routine just as it is with other chronic conditions.”
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