Girl, 15, who suffered 100 seizures a day died from epileptic fit in the bath

A 16-year-old schoolgirl who suffered up to 100 seizures a day died after having an epileptic fit in the bath.

Isabella Cebrero had been diagnosed with epilepsy when she was eight and recently her fits had become "aggressive, prominent and frequent", an inquest heard.

The schoolgirl's mum Carol has now slammed the NHS for failing to show empathy unless Isabella was in hospital for long periods of time.

Speaking about the "monster that took hold of her baby girl" Carol said Isabella, known as Bella, had epileptic fits that often left her bruised and battered, but added her "tough cookie" daughter always found the strength to carry on.

Carol, from Preston, Lancs, said: ''Epilepsy is a cruel illness that sucks the life out of a sufferer and their loved ones and Bella suffered on a daily basis from seizures.

"After a seizure she would get up, bruised and battered sometimes. She’d have a cry, dust herself off and get on with whatever she was doing. She never wanted any fuss.

''Every morning she’d get up and she would hope that she’d have a seizure free day, as would I more than anything.

"Those seizure free days were the best and we dared to hope that the countless drugs she was on would control the monster that occupied her brain.

"However that day in June last year, the monster took hold and took my baby girl.’’

She added: ''She was a tough cookie – in fact she wouldn’t ever say the word ‘epilepsy’. She just wanted to be normal and to fit in.

Carol went on to explain how the family wished to file a formal complaint against the NHS.

She added: "We want to file a complaint due to the lack of care. There was no empathy there unless she was in hospital for long periods of time.

"There were only ongoing assessments twice a year – even though she was having about 50 to 100 seizures a day.''

Bella, who studied at Our Ladys Roman Catholic High School, had suffered her first seizure during a family holiday in 2011 and was referred to Royal Preston Hospital.

Her mother told the Preston hearing: ''At nine years old she was referred to a neurologist and she was prescribed medication but although she was on a number of them there was never any significant improvement on her seizures.

“In 2017 she spent a period in hospital for serious episodes of seizures and spent a period on the high dependency unit.

"She tried to maintain school but it was difficult due to her seizures which were becoming more frequent.

“On June 14th I left for work at 7.15am. Bella was asleep and had a seizure during the night. I arrived home at 4.15pm and we had our tea.

"In the evening she was putting makeup on and fake tan, like girls do. She went for a bath at 7pm and then returned to her room. She had then gone to bed and there were no concerns.

“On June 15th I woke up and went to check on her, there were no signs of seizures during that night.

"I went back in at 6.30 and she was still asleep. At 4pm I had a missed call from my son, he couldn’t get into the property, so I tried to text Bella but she didn’t reply. I left then and got home around 4.15pm.

“I couldn’t find Bella downstairs and I could see the bathroom door was closed and I thought she was using the bathroom.

"I shouted out to her and there was no response. I then became concerned and forced the door open and she was in the bath.”

Bella's father James, a chef known as 'Ped' said: “From the age of eight, Bella went to a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Preston Hospital and was seen regularly by paediatric consultant neurologists. But her condition worsened over time and Bella found school difficult.

“Over time she had different types of epilepsy. There was a lot of investigations and EEG scans and she was on different types of medication but despite this she worked hard at school.

"Because of the seizures she was becoming exhausted and stopped sleeping. We tried different things to relax her. She was coming up to her mock exams at school and there were pressures on her. Through this time she suffered 30 to 40 fits a day.

“By November she had increased seizures. This was difficult for her. Things were affecting her memory and her ability to recall facts. She was just a normal young girl. She enjoyed social media and talking to her friends on Snapchat.

“On June 15th I had gotten up and gone to her room to check she was OK, I then returned back with her drink and medication, then ran her a bath.

"She got up out of bed later that morning and I just left for work. I texted her at 11 to see if she was OK but got no response.

"I had a break at 4pm and rang Bella at home and again got no reply. It was only later when I got home and found out about Bella being found in the bath.''

Sheila Bolger the mother of one of Bella's friends told the hearing: ''My daughter Christina has epilepsy and we were never told that my daughter could die from it. I only found out when she explained to me what Bella was going through.

“There is a national, if not worldwide failing on people with epilepsy and we are just left as parents to fumble around in the dark.

"We are not given any support, there is no help or advice. There is no epilepsy nurse to contact.

"The support is absolutely appalling yet his a child who wakes up everyday, who does now know from one second to the next, what they are going through during a seizure.

“My daughter is 17 now. On her last day at school she found out that Bella had died. I don’t believe that should have ever happened to Bella and I am appalled.

"I am appalled the hospital doesn’t have support or information and that fact these children only get an appointment at the hospital just every six months.

“They are stuck with medication doing all sorts to them. They are trying to go to school and trying to fit in with their friends. There is a national problem with epilepsy and we need the correct support.”

Prof Timothy Dawson, a consultant pathologist said: “Bella had quite bad epilepsy which was difficult to control.

"Around 500 deaths per year are attributed to epilepsy yet when it comes to death caused by epilepsy, there is not much understanding of it.

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