Our daughter Jane died from SUDEP & possibly from ours and her ignorance. Nearly half of all SUDEP deaths are avoidable. Stay Alive - Read On.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Two BIG reasons why SUDEP reports go under-reported in the USA

As far as I can see there are about as many reported deaths of SUDEP in the UK as there are in the USA.  Which is totally wrong, because the size of the population in America is many, many times that of the UK.  Whatever else is true, the ratio of SUDEP deaths against incidence of Epilepsy, and against population size should generally be proportional.  So what's wrong?

I was alerted to one major problem in the USA which is totally at odds with the UK by the EpilepsyTalk blog.  The USA , it appears has reverted back to the Dark Ages when it comes to post-mortems, otherwise known as autopsies.  So what are the key differences?

Well Wikipedia has a possibly very good starting point for understanding where the USA has gone wrong, and (by at least this measure) the UK has got it right.  Therein we will see that to be a coroner in the UK you will need at least a relevant degree.  Not so in the USA where no certificate is required.

Not only that here in the UK sudden and unexpected deaths are taken very seriously.  Especially for SUDEP deaths coroners are expected to note on the report the word SUDEP.  In the USA the picture is patchy at best with some States not even bothering to do an autopsy.  This article on ProPublica, published at the end of 2011, examines this issue in detail, and there is very little good news!

I could go on at length on this subject, but suffice it to say, if ProPublica's report is at all accurate then what goes on in the USA seems to me as scandalous.  Where as here in the UK thing are only getting better for anyone related to someone who has died suddenly.  (Of course a good autopsy report won't bring back your loved one, but at least you know you will have the best chances of knowing why they died.)

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