The Situation

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.

I didn’t notice people standing around at first. Mostly because I’m the least observant person I know. That day there were several men and women standing around gaping at something on the floor. As I paid my fare and walked through the subway turnstile, 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 grumbled something and paid my fare again to go back out the turnstile so I could help. The man who had called 911 seemed to be under the impression that the woman was having a heart attack. Argh, at least he wasn’t doing compressions. I found an ID bracelet which showed detailed instructions on who to call if the woman had a seizure. Then I asked that someone move the purse that was wrapped around her arm.

Since the man who called 911 was still on the line I was able to tell him, and therefore the dispatcher, that the woman was in fact having a seizure. She stopped for a minute or so and then began to seize again as the medics arrived.

At that point I exited stage left. Paid my fare yet again and reminded the man who called 911 that he had done a good thing. He was still standing there looking at his phone. As I continued my commute that morning, it occurred to me how many people don’t know what to do when someone has a seizure. The experience reminded me how important it is to communicate what a seizure can look like and what to do to help.

What to Do

Use the 4 C’s

I found a site that details first aid instructions (find it here), for both convulsive and non-convulsive seizures. The site talks about the 4 C’s of seizure first aid: Calm, Clear, Comfort, Call. I love the simplicity of this message. Go to the website and take a look. Show it to someone else. Spread the word. Maybe next time someone is having a seizure the person calling 911 won’t think they are having a heart attack. Here’s hoping.