COLUMBUS – State Reps. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Westlake) and Rep. Thomas F. Patton (R-Strongsville) announced the unanimous passage of House Bill (HB) 229, the “Brenna Brossard SUDEP Awareness Act” by a vote of 91-0. The bipartisan bill would raise awareness of SUDEP, or Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, among patients diagnosed with epilepsy by ensuring that they receive the relevant health information & resources from their healthcare provider.
On January 30, 2022, an otherwise healthy, physically fit 25-year-old woman named Brenna Brossard, passed away suddenly after experiencing an epileptic seizure in the middle of the night. Diagnosed with epilepsy, Brenna was taking her prescribed medication and living a normal life, unaware that her condition put her at risk of SUDEP. Despite sitting through countless doctor’s appointments with epilepsy specialists for more than two decades, Brenna and her family were never once informed about SUDEP, its risk factors, nor the steps they could have taken to minimize the risks until after it was too late.
“I am so grateful to Brenna’s parents, Lou and Joni Brossard, for sharing their story with me and for their tireless advocacy efforts on behalf of all Ohioans affected by epilepsy,” said Rep. Sweeney. “By passing this legislation we will empower individuals with epilepsy to make informed healthcare decisions so that fewer families have to endure the pain of losing a loved one unexpectedly to this relatively unknown threat.”
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there are about 3.4 million people in the United States who live with active epilepsy, approximately 140,000 of whom call Ohio home. Studies estimate that each year about 1 out of every 1,000 people with epilepsy will die of SUDEP or Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy –a statistic that is likely underreported.
“The Brossard family is so very honored and humbled by the overwhelming support shown by our House of Representatives,” said Lou Brossard, father of Brenna Brossard. “Being informed about SUDEP will bring powerful awareness, and this awareness will surely result in helping to save the lives of countless Ohioans living with epilepsy.”
Anyone living with epilepsy is at risk for SUDEP, but because there are still so many unknowns, physicians often choose not to share information on SUDEP with patients to avoid unnecessary concern or worry. Unfortunately, by doing so, physicians also prevent patients from taking action to mitigate the risks, which can make a significant difference in preventing SUDEP. This bill empowers patients and families by ensuring they have access to the information and resources necessary to make well-informed decisions about their health and has the potential to save hundreds of lives in Ohio every year.
“Epilepsy is most challenging for the families that are forced to live with it. This bill, promoting information on Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, should hopefully aid those embroiled in this battle, to have an additional weapon to fight with,” said Rep. Patton.
House Bill 229 now awaits further consideration before the Ohio Senate.
A picture of Rep. Sweeney, Lou Brossard, and Rep. Patton is attached to this release.