Unexplained death of St Albans sportswoman

PUBLISHED: 14:56 04 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:44 06 May 2010

Tina was a keen skydiver

Tina was a keen skydiver

THE death of an epileptic sportswoman from St Albans cannot be explained, an inquest heard. Tina Wiseman, a 37-year-old skydiving enthusiast who completed over 600 jumps in her lifetime, was found dead at her home in Dellfield on July 21 after her worried

Tina Wiseman

THE death of an epileptic sportswoman from St Albans cannot be explained, an inquest heard.

Tina Wiseman, a 37-year-old skydiving enthusiast who completed over 600 jumps in her lifetime, was found dead at her home in Dellfield on July 21 after her worried colleagues phoned the police when she failed to turn up for work.

Tina, who was first diagnosed with primary generalised epilepsy when she was 17, had a history of both blackout spells and seizures and was taking controlled doses of three types of medication - Tegretol, Keppra and Lamotrigine - at the time of her death.

At the inquest on Wednesday morning Dr Linda Parsons, who had been treating Tina since 2007, said she had been slowly weaning Tina off Tegretol and onto Keppra since August 2007, because she believed the latter drug was "much more suitable" for her.

She explained: "Carbamazepine (Tegretol) can make some primary generalised epilepsy patients worse and we tend to avoid it now. We know a lot more now than we did 20 years ago and I thought that Keppra was a better option for Tina - it is used very widely today."

Despite the fact that Tina suffered more seizures in 2008 than 2007, Dr Parsons maintained her decision to change her medication routine was the right one. She said it was rare to have sudden deaths due to epilepsy and a post-mortem showed that there was no evidence of a seizure prior to Tina's death.

Coroner Edward Thomas, who described Tina as a "very committed and caring lady", recorded a verdict of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.

Tina was a senior acoustic consultant in London and also tried rock-climbing, abseiling and mountaineering, proudly reaching the top of both Snowdon and Ben Nevis. She was also a dedicated volunteer Samaritan and was a qualified Red Cross First Aider.

Tina's sister Karen Wiseman, who described her as her "best friend", read out a tribute to Tina at the inquest, noting her "insatiable thirst for adventure, new experiences and challenges" and praising her "immense pride in bettering herself as a person".

She added: "Tina was no ordinary person. She had a beautiful smile, a huge heart and a unique zest for life. Her loss has totally devastated everyone who knew her.


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