A CORONER has praised the bravery of a teenager's family after her organs were used to save five people following her death after an epileptic fit.
Lauren Aithwaite was just 17 when she was found in her family bathroom last year having suffered what was believed to be a prolonged fit.
The teenager, who went to Abbey Hill School and Technology College in Thornaby, was rushed to hospital but died three days later due to brain damage from the seizure.
Today (May 12) Teesside Assistant Coroner Jo Wharton said: "I would like to commend Lauren's family for the very brave decision to authorise organ donation."
Her donated organs helped to save five people - including a five-year-old child and a father-of-two young children.
Lauren's father Paul Aithwaite said: "It is what she would have wanted. She just wanted to help people. She wanted to be a vet - she loved animals.
"It is a comfort to know that she lives on through the people she has saved. I know for a fact she would be happy about that.
"We actually got a lovely card from the five-year-old that she helped save."
Lauren's inquest at Teesside Coroner's Court heard that she had suffered from epilepsy since she was a baby, but in the run up to her death her fits had become more frequent and more severe. Doctors had been varying and increasing her medication to try to get the right dose.
But on May 30 last year her father found her in the bathroom of their home following a very severe fit and started CPR until paramedics arrived.
Lauren, who lived with her family at Eltham Crescent in Thornaby, was rushed to the University Hospital of North Tees but she was suffering from severe brain damage due to lack of oxygen to the brain and died on June 3.
Pathologist Dr David Scoones, neurological pathologist at James Cook University Hospital, said that the circumstantial evidence pointed towards her having had a prolonged epileptic seizure in her bathroom.
Miss Wharton said: "On the balance of probabilities Lauren Aithwaite's death was due to natural causes."
For details of the organ donation scheme visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300-123-23-23.