I remember his jeans were wet.

Tonight I saw the #JusticeForLB stream on twitter. It’s about a teenager who drowned in a bath in an NHS assessment unit. Despite him having a history of epilepsy, he was left to bath unmonitored.

And I was instantly dragged back in time to that night.

My sister drowned in her bath. It’s a disturbingly regular occurrence for people with epilepsy. I don’t know whether Katrin knew the risks and discounted them. I know that she was massively strong willed, and that if she wanted to take a bath, she would have taken a bath.

And she did, and she died.

LB shouldn’t have been at risk though. He was in a safe environment and it is utterly disgraceful that his family are living with his loss. I don’t follow the campaign closely, although I’ve read his mother’s blog a few times – I find it too painful to read too often.

If I read it too often, I’d cry again, like I did tonight, blinking away tears in the car. I’d remember little details flashing back, like the fact that BiL’s jeans were wet when I arrived in the hospital. Wet from where he’d dragged Katrin from the water, tried to save her.

I’d remember the sound of my father’s voice on the phone from their holiday, apologising because he wasn’t there in the hospital with us as we sat in shock, together and yet utterly apart.

I’d remember BiL asking me over Katrin’s body “what do I do now?” and not having an answer for him.

I’d drip tears like I’m dripping them right now, writing this post.

Katrin is gone. I can’t bring her back. LB is gone, his death can’t be undone. But the system needs to accept responsibility and make changes so that no other family trusts their child to people who fail to take the most basic precautions. Fail to keep them safe.

Epilepsy can, to a large extent, be managed. People with it live healthy and fulfilling lives. Katrin certainly did. She raised two children, had a job. She ran, was fit and active. But epilepsy still claimed her in the end. It claims too many people, far too early.

It shouldn’t have claimed LB. He was even younger. He was in what should have been the safest environment possible. And I’m completely behind his family in their fight to see justice for LB. It’s the least they deserve.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and cuddle with my children. And maybe cry a little more.

About Jax Blunt

I'm the original user, Jax Blunt I've been blogging for ten years, give or take, and if you want to know me, read me :)

Comments

  1. I’m usually fairly useless with words – now more so, but just wanted to stop and say that you’re absolutely right, it’s a travesty and it absolutely should not, must not, happen again. That’s it. Nothing else that I can say. (((hugs))).

  2. Oh darling. I am so very sorry.
    H

  3. I am so sorry Jax. I had no idea. I am sorry for your loss. X

  4. Lucy Muncaster says:

    I’m so sorry Jax. There is a family of girls in my village who lost their mother in identical circumstances to Katrin.

    Lucy

  5. So awful :-( We witnessed a lady have a seizure on the travelator at sainsburys the other week which, of course, was cause for discussion with the children. I told them about Katrin. You were all held in our thoughts, and are in mine now again now too. xx

  6. headinbook says:

    I knew that you had lost your sister, but not the circumstances. How cruel, and what a dreadful loss for all her family. I had no idea that even “managed” epilepsy could still pose such a deadly risk. So very sorry for your loss.

  7. Jax I am so sorry. And, you are absolutely right. This never should have happened to LB. A powerful, powerful post. I too am off to hug my children. X

  8. I’m so sorry, Jax. A close relative of mine had childhood epilepsy and a child myself I found it terrifying. We’re blessed to still have him with us. I’m lending my support to #justiceforLB in the form of some scheduled tweets over the next few days.

  9. Hi Jax, thanks for sharing.
    Living with Epilepsy’s never that easy, sometimes we forget or try to forget, the dangers and I guess it’s just so we can manage and live best way we can. From the sounds of things your sister was a lovely person.
    I’m supporting #justiceforLB too.
    (((hugs)))
    Maz x

  10. Hope it’s ok, I decided to share – my jeans were wet too, thankfully in our case, he lived. Maz x

  11. Such tragedies. Big love to you xx

  12. Much love jax

  13. Incredibly moving. I have epilepsy and actually never considered the bath being a danger because I only have fits at night whilst I am sleeping. Thank you for sharing your story and pointing this danger out to myself and others. Much love and peace being sent your way.

    • Hi Amanda, I don’t want to scare people unduly but I think this is massively important. Katrin’s epilepsy was nocturnal only for years. I don’t know what changed it or when.

  14. Cara (zygote maker ) says:

    Your love for your sister comes through this so clearly. I’m so sorry you lost her too early. I hope that eventually the joy of her memory is greater than the grief. Sharing your loss has made me aware of something that was completely off my radar. Thank you for opening my eyes.

  15. So sad. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    This has really hit me hard. Oz has been seizure free for a year now but I worry all the time. Thankyou for raising awareness and sharing such a personal story.

    • I can understand the worry. I don’t know a lot about childhood epilepsy, is it possible he could grow out of it. Sorry to have caused upset.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Today the report into the death (PDF) of Connor Sparrowhawk, an 18-year-old who drowned in an NHS learning disability unit in Oxford last July (see earlier entry), was published. That it was published was thanks to a long campaign by his mother, which faced much opposition from the NHS trust involved, which made such excuses as protecting their staff, and faced a last-minute obstacle when police delayed publication so as to consider a criminal prosecution. His death was the result of epilepsy, and he had been left in the bath with observation at 15-minute intervals, which is nowhere close to adequate when supervising someone with epilepsy in the bath. The report also exposes some of the inadequacies of Connor’s care at the unit, which was obviously ill-prepared to care for him and two of whose senior staff believed he should not have been there in the first place. (See also the Southern Health NHS trust’s statement and the family’s solicitor’s report. More: George Julian, Funky Mango’s Musings, Rich West, The Small Places, Mark Neary, FibroGirl, People First England, Making It Up.) […]

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