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21 July 2016

Warning over driving and epilepsy

Epilepsy Society's medical director Professor Ley Sander has underlined the importance of people  informing the DVLA and stopping driving if they have uncontrolled seizures.

His warning follows yesterday's court case where a motorist was jailed for three and a half years for killing a pedestrian after having an epileptic seizure while driving.

The motorist, Stuart Lusher, had previously been warned that he was unfit to drive. A police investigation found Lusher, 56, from Benhill Wood Road, Sutton, had a history of epilepsy and chronic sleep apnoea and had ignored numerous warnings from medical professionals not to drive.

Patient confidentiality

Commenting on the court case, Professor Sander said: 'If someone has uncontrolled seizures they are obliged to notify the DVLA and stop driving. If they refuse, the doctor can break patient confidentiality and tell medical advisers at the DVLA. This is because they are not only putting themselves at risk, they are endangering members of the public. The doctor should always inform the patient that they will be notifying the DVLA themselves.'

Seizure while driving

Lusher was driving in south London to visit his gravely ill wife in hospital. He had a seizure as he stopped at a red traffic light at 1.40pm on June 27 last year.

The seizure caused him to drive his Mazda SUV on to the pavement where it hit 48-year-old Phil Westnott from behind, trapping him under the car.

Mr Westnott suffered a catastrophic head injury and was pronounced dead at the scene in Merantun Way, Merton.

Driving ban

Lusher admitted causing death by dangerous driving. As well as a jail sentence he was  given a lifetime ban from driving.

Detective Sergeant Jeff Edwards, from the Met's serious collision investigation unit, said: 'I must firstly pay tribute to family of Mr Westnott for their dignity and courage during this difficult investigation.

'Mr Lusher's decision to drive, despite warnings from medical staff, resulted in a terrible collision that cost an innocent man his life.'

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