Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dear Caregivers: DO NOT Leave a Person with Autism, Epilepsy and Intellectual Disability Alone in a Bathtub

Many news reports can have an impact on you for a variety of reasons.  It is especially true with reports of  young people dying at an early age, particularly when those young people share significant characteristics with one of your own children.  A BBC News story "We thought our son would be safe in assessment unit"  startled me when I read the story of 18 year old Connor Sparrowhawk who died in a UK assessment unit while left alone in a bath. Like my son Conor Doherty, Connor Sparrowhawk suffered from epilepsy, autism and a learning disability.  Like my son, Connor Sparrowhawk  suffered a grand mal/tonic clonic seizure while in the bath although unfortunately was alone.

 On October 24, 2014 our son Conor suffered a grand mal/tonic clonic seizure while his mother helped him bathe.  He went into convulsions and his mother yelled for help.  I was sitting downstairs at the time and upon hearing my wife's calls for help, ran upstairs and held him up in the tub until his convulsions stopped and he regained some level of consciousness.   His older brother helped me move our son Conor Doherty down to the living room where we cared for him on a living room couch.  We also spoiled him rotten for the rest of the day.  Conor slept on the couch that night while I slept on a second couch in the living room.  

Our son Conor's  bathtub seizure was scary but it could have been worse, much worse,  Our Conor, as with others with his conditions, could have died in the tub that day as was the case with Connor Sparrowhawk,  the 18 year old UK man, who like our son, had epilepsy, autism, and a learning disability, whose death and the anguish of his parents was reported by  Katie Razzall,  a special correspondent, to the BBC in "We thought our son would be safe in assessment unit":

"The 18-year-old drowned in the bath at an NHS assessment unit in Oxfordshire after having a fit in July 2013.

Connor had epilepsy, autism and a learning disability, but had always lived at home with his parents and siblings. He had been admitted to the unit 107 days earlier after becoming agitated and aggressive.

Sara Ryan, his mother, said: "He was a fit and healthy young man. He should have been supervised. If you have epilepsy, you shouldn't be left in the bath. I'm astonished they weren't supervising him in the bath, it's such a basic level of care."

A damning independent report by Verita for Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust found Connor's epilepsy had not been properly assessed or managed, and that his death was "preventable". Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has personally apologised to the family."

 As Connor Sparrowhawk's mother, Sara Ryan, said "If you have epilepsy you shouldn't be left in the bath. I'm astonished they weren't supervising him in the bath, it's such a basic level of care."


farmwifetwo said...


We got an ASD dog for our son. They can "dual" as well. While we were there one was being trained also for seizure and the other would be with diabetes once they got home. The ASD dogs go to those 18 and under but... ask anyways. Seizure dogs are for everybody no matter the age.

Willie said...

What about while sleeping my epileptic aunt died in 1999 asleep. There were people in the house at her death. Medical companies need to invent a medical machine to warn about sleep seizures in high risk persons. Those employees need firing for neglegece in above story of UK man.

Mommie that Gets It said...

Oh my! I am so sorry to hear this happened and frankly shocked that it could. Very tragic.