Families Respond to Chief Coroner’s Epilepsy Death Results

“My first response was ‘absolute shock’,” Michelle Towns told Newshub.

In December 2019, her son Andre Maddock died of an epileptic seizure. He had recently changed anticonvulsant medication.

A change in Pharmac’s funding has forced nearly 11,000 epileptic patients to change their brand of anti-epileptic drug Lamotrigine from Lamictal or Arrow-Lamotrigine to Logem.

Maddock’s death and the deaths of five others sparked a coronary investigation. But Judge Deborah Marshall concluded: “The evidence does not clearly link the rebranding to the foreclosures that led to the deaths.”

“I don’t know how they get this result. That’s it, ”Towns says.

The coroner could not rule out the change for Maddock’s cause of death, but also blamed other factors.

“Chronic mild appendicitis and insomnia were part of the cause of his death. It doesn’t kill a person, ”Towns says.

“It can’t be anything other than a chemical that can do that to your body, as far as I’m concerned.”

Maddock partner Nadia Jooste insists it can only be drugs.

“It wasn’t until the end that he started taking more of the new generic drug, and I think that’s where we saw the decline in his health, and just his ability to be him,” she says.

Jo Oliver also believes that without the rebranding her son Will would still be alive.

“Do I still feel? Yes, I do. But then we’ll never say yes or no because the coroner doesn’t know. And now we just have to live with him in our hearts,” says- it. .

As the coroner couldn’t find a clear link between the change in medication and the six deaths, she made no recommendation.

“It’s almost like it’s been put in too hard a basket.” We’re not going to dig a little deeper, so I’m just going to name it as is and make no recommendations. “And I think that part is probably the part that hurt most of us,” says Jooste.

The report observed that Pharmac’s communication strategy was lacking, and a brochure meant to be given to patients was not – and even if it was, it would not have alerted them to the possibility of unwanted symptoms.

“Just him coming home with a sticker on the box saying the medicine has changed, I’m like ‘wait, did they give you some information?’ and he said no, ”explains Jooste.

Oliver says the doctors and pharmacists thought it was each other’s job to educate the patient.

“A lot of doctors didn’t even know there was a rebranding until it was released to the media. So the communication between Pharmac, pharmacists and doctors was not at all good, ”says Oliver.

Pharmac says he will work with the Department of Health to improve the way it shares information about brand changes.

“We recognize that it is our responsibility to make sure healthcare professionals are aware of brand changes and have access to the information they need to give to patients,” says the COO of Pharmac, Lisa Williams.

Both families agree the decision was disappointing, but they are divided over whether it is closed.

“You have to move on, but you have that memory of him. That ending has ended. Will, you can rest now, fall asleep, be a part of me,” Oliver said.

Meanwhile, Jooste wants specialist appointments before patients switch drugs and better access to neurologists.

“We’re always going to end up with unanswered questions, but it would be something that could be done in public view to make sure it doesn’t happen to the next group of people when a drug change occurs. “


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