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Friday, December 11, 2009

Seizures Of A Different Kind

To me, seizures are one of the more fun types of calls to go on. For the average person out there, a seizure has to look somewhat terrifying. Your family member (or friend) loses consciousness and starts shaking all over. From an EMS point of view, they really aren't that bad. There are a couple of serious complications for which you need to watch such as the patient seizing for too long (since breathing can be affected) or trauma from the patient hitting something. The other thing that I like about seizures is that I can actually do something about it. Most patients are not actively seizing by the time we get there but the ones that are get an anti-convulsant and it almost always stops the seizure activity.

We got a call at about 0230 for a woman having a seizure.When we arrived we found our patient (a 63 year old woman) laying in bed. The entire left side of her body was contracted and shaking.As we talked to her through an interpreter we found out that she had been convulsing like this for the last 10 minutes or so. She had a brain tumor which was evidently causing the seizures. She had experienced one other seizure in her life that was about a month ago. It was the strangest thing being able to talk with my patient while she was having a seizure. Looking back on it I would have loved to question her about the experience (if she had spoken English). I gave her some medication that almost always works to stop seizures and it didn't work. By this time AMR was on scene so we loaded her up in the ambulance. The medic on the ambulance was going to give a repeat dose of the medication if the seizure hadn't stopped by the time that the started heading toward the hospital.

Something tells me that I haven't seen the last of her. Maybe next time I'll ask her more about the experience.


Michelle said...

My mom has localized seizures to the right side of her body due to brain damage - her's are called Partial Simple Seizures and she can talk to you while it's happening too. The only time they are really long - 10+ minutes is if she gets anxious - or if an anxiety attack has triggered it. And the physical triggers for her are lights - strobe lights (like on plows, firetrucks, police cars and ambulances) - Christmas lights are proving to be a trigger too if they are flashing. Not sure why I told you all this, but your patient's symptoms sounded very similar.
Thanks for sharing your experiences...

Firefighter/Paramedic said...

Michelle- Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm familiar with strobes causing seizures. I've had to respond to calls for seizures because an ambulance went by and the strobes were the cause. I've never had a patient with Partial Simple Seizures before the one in my post. Good information. Does she cramp up after a while? Is it painful?

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