Epilepsy Tragedies Stir Reform for Emergency Personnel

<b>Epilepsy Tragedies Stir Reform for Emergency Personnel</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – A man tried to break into his neighbor’s home. When police officers arrived, he approached them, ignoring their commands to stop. The police used tasers, pepper spray and batons to wrestle the man to the ground, face down, then handcuff him behind his back. And while using physical force is the norm for an uncooperative suspect’s arrest, appearances do deceive.

The man, James Edward Wells, had just experienced a tonic-clonic seizure. In his post-seizure confusion, he mistook his neighbor’s house for his own and could not understand the officers’ orders. Shortly after the cops pinned him face down, Wells stopped breathing. This misunderstanding is cause for concern for the nearly 3 million Americans living with epilepsy, a neurological condition characterized by seizures, or electrical disturbances in the brain. During seizures, people with epilepsy may lose control of their actions or words, be unable to respond to other people and display odd behaviors, like sudden crying, falling, running, screaming, shouting or mumbling.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, there is an increase in the number of reports of people having seizures or experiencing post-seizure confusion and being injured by first responders — law enforcement or emergency medical services (EMS) teams.

For this reason, The Epilepsy Foundation developed First Responders Training curricula to educate law enforcement and EMS teams on how to recognize and respond to persons experiencing seizures.

The Foundation also suggests that people with epilepsy take the following steps to help EMS teams respond appropriately:

* Wear medical alert identification at all times.

* Always carry a seizure first-aid card.

* Keep a list of your medications and allergies with you.

* Carry the names and contact information of your primary care physicians or neurologists.

* Tell family members or friends to inform EMS personnel that you have epilepsy should they have to call for help on your behalf.

For more information, visit www.epilepsyfoundation.org.

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