Young girl with rare syndrome reunited with SAS crew who rushed her to hospital

A young girl who had a prolonged seizure as a result of a rare condition has been reunited with the Scottish Ambulance Service crew who cared for her during the “scary” incident.

Young Penney, of Perth, has Dravet Syndrome - a rare form of intractable epilepsy that begins in infancy and affects around one in every 15,000 people in the UK – and in October she experienced a seizure, aged just 15 months at the time.

Mum Joanne and her husband Ross sensed this was more intense than usual and called 999. Crieff staff members, Kerry Sweeney, Paramedic Team Leader, and Scott Denny, Trainee Technician, were dispatched. Upon arriving, they assessed the situation and transported Penney to hospital.

Mum Joanne McKain said she will be “forever grateful” to the “kindness and compassion” the crew showed Penney and after reaching out to say thanks, a meeting was arranged for Joanne to say thanks in person.

Speaking of the incident, Joanne said: “We’ve had many ambulances to our house for our daughter and everyone has always been great. On this occasion, my daughter’s seizure was still going after 30 minutes. When Kerry and Scott arrived, it felt like a weight had been lifted. Kerry listened to everything I said about Dravet as it’s a rare condition. This was the worst and longest seizure Penney has had.”

Joanne said once they arrived at Ninewells A and E - 1 hour into the seizure – and handed over to hospital staff, Kerry and Scott checked in to see how Penney was doing.

She added: “At the hospital, Scott was friendly and was rubbing my daughter’s arm after she was sedated and talked to her, again treating her like a person not just a patient - they were an incredible team.

They made a terrible and scary situation manageable and the amount of care and compassion, and actual love shown to us that day, was amazing. We’ve had many ambulance crews here and they’ve all been fantastic but that day was different and will forever stand out for us.

“It just seemed like more than a job, Penney wasn’t just another number. All paramedics and technicians are great but on that day we well and truly had the A team. To actually see them to express our gratitude, to not just them but the whole ambulance service, is really lovely and we are grateful.”

Kerry said: “Its been great to come back and see Penney, her vibrant personality is just amazing. It was lovely to hear the feedback from Penney’s parents. At the end of the day, we were just doing our job, but Penney was important to us and we wanted to give her the best care we could.”

Penney's parents have expressed how grateful they are to the Scottish Ambulance service, the neurology team  in Ninewells and the continued support from Dravet syndrome UK.

Posted on 06/03/2023