Prayers as epileptic girl (6) placed on life support

Sophia Gibson from Newtownards, who suffers from a rare genetic condition which causes a high volume of seizures.
Sophia Gibson from Newtownards, who suffers from a rare genetic condition which causes a high volume of seizures.

A young girl from Co Down waiting to hear if she has been granted a licence to be treated with medicinal cannabis oil, has been admitted to hospital.

Sophia Gibson, six, from Newtownards, suffers from a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome.

Her parents, Danielle and Darren say the medication relieves their daughter’s condition.

The youngster’s admission to hospital came on the same day that the Belfast Trust announced that 12-year-old Billy Caldwell – who also suffers from a severe form of epilepsy – will now be able to receive his cannabis oil medication at home.

Billy, from Castlederg in Co Tyrone, has found himself at the centre of a campaign to see cannabis oil licensed for medicinal use in the UK.

Yesterday, the Belfast Trust said that his medication will now be stored in Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry and healthcare professionals from the Western Trust will administer his medication twice daily.

Sophia was rushed to hospital on Tuesday after becoming unwell.

She is being treated in the intensive care unit of the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Her family has applied for a licence for her to be treated with cannabis oil in Northern Ireland.

Previously Sophia was treated with the medication when her family took her to the Netherlands.

Her mother Danielle told the Press Association Sophia suffered a seizure so severe she had to be placed in an induced coma.

“How much more Sophia can take of this, I just don’t know,” she said.

“I am just praying she makes it through the night.”

In a statement earlier on Tuesday evening, Sophia’s family said she has been placed on life support.

“Sophia needs everyone’s prayers and well wishes more than ever,” they said.

Hannah Deacon from Warwickshire, whose son Alfie Dingley also suffers with epilepsy, expressed her concern over Sophia’s condition.

She brought medicinal cannabis oil home to the UK from Amsterdam on Tuesday after licences were granted for her son, Alfie to be treated with the drug for his rare condition.