POUNDLAND is investigating after a woman with epilepsy collapsed outside its city-centre store.
Teresa Richardson, 40, was in Chichester on December 23 with her husband Graeme to visit their friend, Kelli Summer.
After having coffee together, Kelli popped into Poundland in East Street.
“I went into the doorway so I could see where Kelli was and I was going to spend a bit more time with her,” said Teresa.
“The flickering light just caught my vision and triggered an aura.”
An aura is a simple partial seizure – a warning a more severe seizure could be coming.
“When I had the aura, I walked towards Graeme and then I managed to be able to say to him ‘I’ve got an aura’ and then it got to the point where I couldn’t move or talk any more.”
It then developed into a tonic-clonic seizure, with Graeme saying his wife ‘fell forward on to the pavement outside the store’. An ambulance was called and Kelli and Graeme were there to help and reassure Teresa when she regained consciousness.
She was taken to St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, after injuring her wrist and bruising her forehead.
Graeme and Kelli also have epilepsy, but Teresa is among the four per cent who is photosensitive, with flashing lights running the risk of causing a seizure.
“I’ve had it since I was two, so I’m just kind of used to it,” said Teresa.
“It’s horrible when it can happen out of the blue and especially when it’s in public. I hate it in public. I hate people seeing me like it.”
The couple had come to visit Kelli, who lives in Parklands, to exchange Christmas presents. It was the first time Graeme and Teresa, who live in Goring-by-Sea, had seen their friend since their wedding in August.
Teresa said she wanted to thank Kelli for looking after her chihuahua Shadow, while she was taken to hospital following the seizure.
Graeme said it was vital for people to be aware of the impact flashing lights could have on photosensitive people, with even flashing bike lights possibly triggering a seizure.
Kelli said Poundland needed to make sure there were no flickering lights in its shops.
“If other people with epilepsy go in, that’s going to happen again,” she said.
A spokeswoman from Poundland said: “We are aware of a recent incident involving a member of the public having an epileptic fit outside our Chichester store.
“We are now investigating the incident.”