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Seizure First Aid: What would you do?

Seizure First Aid

A few days ago my morning started off great. I hadn’t spilled anything on myself, the car was running, and I was on time as I headed into work. But that changed when I got to the train station and discovered a woman in need of seizure first aid and onlookers thought she was having a heart attack.

It’s Not NYC Anymore

I didn’t notice people standing around at first. In my defense I lived in NYC for upwards of 15 years. There was always a bunch of people standing around looking at something. But now I live in the sleepy suburbs of NJ outside of Philadelphia. So people standing around gaping at someone at the PATCO station is not so common.

As I paid my fare and walked through the turnstile my curiosity got the better of me. I turned around to find there was a woman on the floor in the midst of a convulsive seizure. I remember I grumbled something about my morning and paid my fare again to go back out the turnstile so I could help.

No Compressions, Please!

When I came into the group of people standing over the woman I discovered that the man who had called 911 seemed to be under the impression that she was having a heart attack. Argh. I found an ID bracelet which the woman had detailed instructions on. I confirmed for the man who called 911 that she was in fact having a seizure and not a heart attack.

I then asked that someone move the purse away from her arm. We stayed on the line with 911 until the police came and I told them what I had seen and what was on the bracelet. Sadly, the woman was in the midst of a second convulsion when the ambulance arrived.

At that point I exited stage left. Paid my fare again and reminded the man who called 911 that he did a good thing.

The situation reminded me how many people don’t know what to do if someone is having a seizure. The experience reminded me how important it is to communicate to the general public what a seizure can look like and what to do to help.

4 C’s of Seizure First Aid

I would encourage you to use the 4 C’s of seizure first aid:





I love the simplicity of this message. Spread the word.

Maybe next time someone is having a seizure the person calling 911 won’t think she’s having a heart attack. Here’s hoping.

Originally published in 2010.

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Founder and CEO Jessica brings a unique perspective to this leading epilepsy blog as she was diagnosed with epilepsy as a teen. She also brings 20+ years experience in marketing.

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