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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness


Epilepsy and the small risk of death from seizures

A mother thought her son had a ‘safe’ type of epilepsy, but it wasn’t

On Valentine’s Day 2013, Lise Stern got a call from the University of Miami, where her son Eitan was a freshman. She thought for a moment it might be someone soliciting donations for the school. But then a dean’s voice said: “There is no easy way to say this. Your son has passed away.”

Eitan Stern-Robbins was 18 when he died in bed in his dorm room, from something neither he nor his parents had ever heard of: Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). Eitan had suffered from epileptic seizures since age 11, but with medication had been able to limit them to every year or even two.

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