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Today (13 February 2023) is International Epilepsy Day, an event observed around the world to raise awareness of epilepsy and the issues that epileptic people face.
This year’s focus is the stigma that epileptic people can face from people who do not understand epilepsy or its effects.
Epilepsy is a medical condition where abnormal or erratic activity in the brain causes seizures (also known as fits).
Although epilepsy can have many causes, some people develop the condition as a result of a brain or head injury. Around 350,000 people experience a brain injury in Britain every year, often as a result of an incident such as a sports accident, a road traffic accident including a car crash, motorbike crash or cycling accident, a serious accident at work such as a fall from height, or in some cases as a result of medical negligence.
It is more common for someone to have seizures immediately following their injury, but some people can continue to experience them for many years, or only develop the condition many months or years later.
Epilepsy can vary in severity but seizures can be very frightening for both the person experiencing the seizure, and those around them.
However, the fear surrounding seizures can be harmful and upsetting to epileptic people. It can lead to social stigma that affects epileptic people’s lives and relationships, including myths about epilepsy being contagious, or scare stories about epilepsy being hard or impossible to treat.
In reality, up to 70% of people with epilepsy can become seizure-free with the right medication and treatment, and epileptic people live fulfilled and active lives.
At Novum Law, our expert solicitors have worked with many clients who have sustained traumatic brain injuries due to serious accidents and developed epilepsy as a result.
“Supporting people with epilepsy by making an effort to properly understand their condition is vital. Over half of all epileptic people say they have experienced social stigma, which can lead to them feeling isolated or discriminated against through no fault of their own.
“Part of fighting the stigma surrounding epilepsy is knowing what to do if you are with someone and they have a seizure, so that you can support them and ensure they are safe.
“Headway have an excellent factsheet about post-brain injury epilepsy which provides useful information and some simple steps to take to ensure that the person having the seizure does not experience unnecessary risks such as banging their head or being left to lie in an unsafe place.
“With so many excellent organisations like Headway, and initiatives like International Epilepsy Day, we hope that misunderstandings and stigma surrounding epilepsy can be eradicated, making society a welcoming and safe place for people with epilepsy once and for all.”
If you or a loved one has experienced a brain or head injury that was not your fault, you might be able to claim compensation. Our expert personal injury solicitors can help you on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis, and will support you every step of the way so you can access the best rehabilitation and treatment possible.
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