A coroner has warned about the dangers of epilepsy after a 16-year-old Preston schoolgirl died from a seizure in the bath.
Isabella ‘Bella’ Cebrero was found dead by her mother in the bathroom of the family home in Yewlands Drive, Fulwood in June last year.
Coroner James Newman concluded that the Our Lady’s RC High School student had died from natural causes.
But later her parents, Carol and Ped Cebrero, revealed they are considering action against the NHS for what they described as “a lack of care” by medical staff treating her for more than eight years.
“There was no empathy there,” said dad Ped after the inquest. “We would like to put in a formal complaint. Apart from the times she was in hospital, Bella was only getting visits to consultants twice a year.”
Mr Newman urged the media to give the case some publicity in the hope that “benefit can come from a wider understanding of epilepsy and the dangers of the condition.”
The inquest heard Bella had been having treatment since the age of eight. At times she could have between 50 and 100 seizures a day.
Doctors tried different types of drugs to treat her and were looking into possible brain surgery to cure it. But the teenager died before a solution was found.
Family friend Mrs Sheila Bolger, whose daughter Christina also suffers from epilepsy, took a swipe at the medical authorities when she addressed the inquest.
“We are not here to cast blame,” she said. “But I feel that there is a national, if not worldwide, failure involving people with epilepsy.
"We are left as parent to fumble around in the dark - the support is appalling.
“For 16 years of our daughter having epilepsy we were never made aware that she could be a candidate for surgery, or that she could potentially die of a seizure.”
Coroner Newman said there was no evidence to say Bella’s treatment could have been any speedier, or that surgery would have helped.
He accepted a pathologist’s verdict that the cause of death was not drowning, but "a probable case of sudden, unexpected death in epilepsy.”
Mum Carol paid tribute to her daughter saying: "Despite her health, she just wanted to fit in like any teenager. She was into make-up and she loved her TV programmes."
She revealed Bella had missed much of her schooling in the final year at Our Lady's due to her illness.
"She started Year 11 on a positive note, but it just went downhill really after that. She wasn't able to do her GCSEs."
The Cebrero family have given an award at the school in her memory. "It's for children who try, but struggle," said Carol.