COLUMBUS – State Reps. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Westlake) and Thomas F. Patton (R-Strongsville) this week introduced the Brenna Brossard SUDEP Awareness Act, bipartisan legislation to raise awareness around Sudden Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). SUDEP is the sudden, unexpected death of someone with epilepsy, who was otherwise healthy.
On January 30, 2022 in the middle of the night, a healthy and active 25-year-old young woman named Brenna passed away suddenly during an epileptic seizure. Stunned by their horrible loss, Brenna’s parents met with the Epilepsy Association of Cleveland. It was only then that they learned about SUDEP for the very first time. Despite over two decades of doctor visits with epilepsy specialists, they were never previously informed about SUDEP, nor the steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of this tragic occurrence.
“Our family is humbled that Brenna's enduring legacy is of helping to save lives of people living with epilepsy,” said Lou Brossard, father of Brenna Brossard. “With regard to SUDEP, we believe that knowledge is power. When informed about SUDEP, preventative measures can be taken to reduce the risk of it occurring. Brenna never received that chance. It is our belief that this important legislation will provide other families with the awareness they deserve so that they have the opportunity to potentially prevent SUDEP.”
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, more than one in 1,000 people with epilepsy die from SUDEP each year – a statistic that is likely very underreported. SUDEP occurs when the brain sends a faulty signal to the heart to stop beating or the lungs to stop breathing. It is the leading cause of death in people with uncontrolled seizures.
“The goal of this legislation is to save lives by ensuring Ohioans with epilepsy have all the information they need to make informed healthcare decisions,” said Rep. Sweeney. “The advocacy and resilience of the Brossard family are a testament to Brenna’s life and the lives of every Ohioan impacted by SUDEP.”
This legislation raises awareness for at-risk individuals and their families by requiring healthcare practitioners to inform patients at risk for SUDEP about the risk factors and conditions.
“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 referral to a House Committee for further consideration.
***EDITOR’S NOTE: A photo of Brenna Brossard is attached.