Sudden Death in Epilepsy: Forensic and Clinical Issues

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The cause of death in likely cases of SUDEP is often attributed to status epilepticus, respiratory failure, fatal seizure, or cardiac arrhythmia. Zumwalt also asserted that MEs are trained to look at the underlying cause of death and are more likely to use the diagnosis of idiopathic seizure disorder than a term that implies uncertainty of cause.


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Zumwalt encourages the neurological community to address the two main forensic science organizations - the National Association of Medical Examiners and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences - if they believe the term SUDEP should be canonized as a formal post-mortem diagnosis.

Meanwhile, Schraeder asserts that insights gained from this study about how COs and MEs approach the diagnosis of cause of death in persons with epilepsy will be useful in planning educational programs for COs and MEs for improving the accuracy of final diagnoses. Coroner and medical examiner documentation of sudden unexplained deaths in epilepsy. Epilepsy Research ; 68 2 pp. The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

Kahn, K. Dolce and W. Bealer, C.

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Metcalf, J. Little, M.

Vatta, A. Brewster and A. Goodman, R. Homan and I.

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Faingold, S. Tupal, Y. Mhaskar and V. Finsterer and C. Verrier and S. Dhillon and E.

Sudden Death in Epilepsy: Forensic and Clinical Issues - CRC Press Book

Schraeder and H. Schraeder and C. Sharma, T.

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If you would like to replace it with a different purchasing option please remove the current eBook option from your cart. Edited by Claire M. Lathers , Paul L. Schraeder , Michael W. Careful documentation by the physician may have averted this allegation.

Case 2. A 34 year old woman wanted to become pregnant and was 9 years seizure free. With counsel of her neurologist a plan of medication withdrawal was nearly complete when SUDEP occurred. The defense then argued that if the cause of a medical condition is unknown, then the physician cannot legally be held responsible. The jury verdict was in favor of the physician. Case 3.


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A burglar assaulted a woman who resided on a US military reservation. She survived brain injury yet was left with posttraumatic epilepsy. The assailant had been incarcerated for another crime. He confessed to the burglary in order to obtain sanctuary in another and safer prison. He was unaware of her death. US federal authorities charged the man with murder based on the fact that he induced injury which caused epilepsy and which eventually led to her death. This case brings up extended possibilities when someone is injured and the victim develops epilepsy.

Case 4. A 48 year old woman was found dead in bed at home. Her husband of 30 years was charged with murder by suffocation. She had refractory epilepsy from early childhood.



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