TRENTON � Senator Richard J. Codey (D � Essex, Morris) today introduced legislation that will seek to provide further research into sudden, unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). While the condition is known among the medical community, the amount of data available on SUDEP is shockingly small.
�While many, if not all, of us know someone with epilepsy, it is shocking that we know so little about SUDEP,� said Codey. �It does not have to be this way. By having a uniform way in which to collect information on this gravely serious issue, we can take giant steps forward in understanding how and why this happens. With that knowledge, we can then work on preventing it.�
The bill would require the State Medical Examiner to establish a program to educate medical examiners in New Jersey about SUDEP. Moreover, medical examiners would be required to include, as part of their investigation into the cause of death, questions that would determine if the person in question had epilepsy. Family members of those suspected to have died of SUDEP or who had epilepsy would also be asked permission to send all relevant medical information of the deceased to a SUDEP registry.
Relatively little is known about SUDEP, a condition in which a typically young or middle-aged person with epilepsy dies without a clear cause. The lack of a uniform standard in which to collect data and medical information from those with epilepsy who have died has played a large part in the failure to better understand SUDEP. Senator Codey sponsored the bill after being approached by those in the medical community who were concerned about the lack of research into the problem.
The bill will head to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.