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Things that happen in class...

So, one of my students had a "petit mal" epileptic seizure today during Peer Editing. Hardly anyone, except me and the members of her editing group, even noticed, which is extremely surreal. She came to a stop - she was just... stopped, and I went up and said, " *student* are you okay?" and she quite obviously wasn't, so I was thinking "oh, gee, what shall I do???" and I just touched her and spoke to her and apparently that was the right thing to do because she came out of it and said she was okay... But it made me think "fuck - what do I do if there was a genuine emergency?" Of course, nowadays you can depend on one of your students having a cell phone (in fact, I have a cell phone in the bag I have with me), but even so - what would you do??


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 20th, 2008 05:53 am (UTC)
Speaking as someone who once woke up on the floor with a crowd of people standing around and some serious bruises, don't put things in someone's mouth unless there are clear indications they're needed.

I'd have seriously lost my shit if I'd come to and there'd been something in my mouth.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 20th, 2008 06:17 am (UTC)
You can't swallow your tongue. :) You might occlude your airway if your muscles go limp and your tongue falls back, but you're not going to swallow it.

If there's a risk of someone biting their tongue, putting something between their teeth is probably a good idea, but you need to be careful. Not all seizures are like that.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 20th, 2008 06:54 am (UTC)
It depends on the kind of seizure.

If they're going all rigid and stuff, they might bite their tongue, and putting a bit of their shirt or something between their teeth is probably a good idea. Also good to make sure that there's something between their head and anything hard.
Nov. 20th, 2008 05:32 am (UTC)
Depends on how bad it is.

If that's all, just wait it out. If it's a serious one, call or have someone call 911, and look for a medic-alert bracelet or necklace.
Nov. 20th, 2008 05:44 am (UTC)
Yeah - that's pretty much what you have to do.

I had a student in a previous class who came with a form filled out with specific instructions about what to do in certain circumstances. This one had contacted me previously by email about having epileptic seizures but hadn't given me any particular instructions. Obviously, had things not righted themselves very quickly, I would have called 911, or had someone do that for me. But, golly, it is scary!
Nov. 20th, 2008 11:16 am (UTC)
I have an epileptic student and taht's what he's advised me to do: wait it out. He comes to by himself when the fit passes.
Nov. 20th, 2008 06:37 am (UTC)
911 if there isn't an established emergency procedure in place, much drilled. (I not only want them safe, I don't want to be sued.)
Nov. 20th, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC)
I'd curse myself for not having taken more first aid and not keeping my CPR up to date -- *reminds self*

and then I'd ask if there were any EMTs in class (we have lots of volunteer fire departments here), get them down to keep an eye on things, and call 911. And after that, call public safety.

I think we are technically supposed to call the health center on campus, now that I think about it. And they have an EMT. So I might call them first.

Nov. 20th, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
All this was complicated and I think my sense of helplessness was compounded by the fact that it was my night class, and the campus is pretty much shut. We have trained first-aid people, but of course they are not at work after 5:00. Thinking about it now, I remember where the "break this glass in an emergency" phone is, but I doubt I would have at the time. You have to thank heavens for the fact that every student in the class these days has a cell phone.
Nov. 20th, 2008 08:22 pm (UTC)
Cell phones are a great thing. For seizures, clear the area (so the person can't slam into something and injure him/herself), if they are on the ground cushion the head from slamming into the floor/ground. Otherwise just wait it out. If they are really out of it afterwards, call for medical attention...most of the time they just need rest, rehydration and electrolytes (Gatorade, orange juice, grape juice). You might want to ask the student what she prefers you to do if it happens again as different people have different types of seizures and different ways of recovering. It's a shock when it happens unexpectedly, but not typically an "emergency" unless it doesn't resolve itself in a few minutes.
Nov. 20th, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
Helpfulness is a double-edged sword.

An older man blacked out and fell onto the sidewalk on the other side of the street as I was walking home. There was another man there who helped him to stand and brought him over to a bench to sit down.

Being the dork I am, I have a first aid kit in my backpack, so I dodged across the street to see if I could help. I talked to the man giving the assistance, who turned out to be a ski patrol dude, and let him take some band-aids for the older bloke's scraped hand.

At that point, an entire wave of first-aid attendants, nurses, nurses-in-training, dabblers, dentist assistants, and Starbucks workers rushed over to give their textbook 2 cents. Poor old chap was pounced on with a dozen simultaneous questions of medical history, accident description etc. If his brain wasn't completely backed-out before, it certainly would be now.

I put my cool dude first aid kit back together and scooted out of there. Did my part. Ski patrol man had the scene.

It's usually pretty easy dealing with the direct emergency. The toughest part is dealing with everybody else. Speaking from a few summers doing first aid work, there's my textbook two.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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