25-year-old mother and her unborn baby die suddenly after ‘seizure’ at home

A pregnant woman and her unborn child died suddenly after a suspected epileptic seizure.

Megan Gardiner was just 25 when she died in June this year, 17 weeks pregnant with a boy.

Ms Gardiner’s mother, Alison Woolcock, has since raised concerns about the change in medication her daughter received shortly before her death due to pregnancy.

Tributes were paid to Ms Gardiner, who was just 25


The 25-year-old had suffered from severe epilepsy since she was 13 and was taking three medications to treat the condition.

“Every morning when I woke up I always called Megan to check that she had taken her medication. […] and she always answered. And that morning she didn’t respond,’ Ms Woolcock said.

The 51-year-old found her daughter’s body in her bedroom later that afternoon.

Ms Woolcock’s suspicions that the deadly crisis was caused by a change in medication were strengthened after the death of Paige Ellis, another pregnant woman from Barry, Wales.

Ms Ellis died of a suspected epileptic seizure after being given new medication by the same hospital.

Megan left a devastated boyfriend

(Alison Woolcock)

Ms Gardiner and her mother went to Cardiff University Hospital in Wales on May 23 when she was told two of the drugs, lamotrigine and brivaracetam, posed no risk to the fetus – but research around his third drug, zonisamide, were unclear.

The mother-to-be sought advice from the hospital to increase her dose of lamotrigine and to stop zonisamide.

“Any parent who says taking something could harm their baby would listen to that advice. She wanted to do the best she could for her baby,” Ms Woolcock said.

Megan with her parents and sister

(Alison Woolcock)

Mrs Gardiner’s parents know the heartbreak of losing a child all too well, as they lost their second daughter when she was just a baby.

“We are all heartbroken. Megan was our first born child. We lost our second daughter when Megan was four and a half. So we’ve been through it once and we’re going through it again – it’s just devastating.

On a JustGiving page the family created in her memory, they wrote: “Megan’s life has been stolen. Along with the loss of our beautiful Megan, we also lost the opportunity to love and know the baby she is carrying.

The Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has released a statement on the deaths of Ms Gardiner and Ms Ellis.

A spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with the families at this incredibly sad time. Concerns are reviewed in accordance with our governance process, but due to patient confidentiality, we are unable to comment on individual cases.

“Once completed, the results of the investigation will be shared with next of kin and, based on a preliminary review, we have identified no immediate care and treatment issues.

“We appreciate how difficult this time is for family and loved ones. However, if families wish to discuss anything else, we will ask them to speak with their designated point of contact.

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