Thursday, January 04, 2007

Subway Hero

I suppose everyone has heard the story of Wesley Autrey's heroic act by now. And I certainly have no intention of arguing that Autrey was anything other than heroic when he rescued Cameron Hollopeter from the oncoming train.


If you ever come across a person having a seizure, you don't stick anything in their mouths. Never, never, never. This is something that my daughter lives in fear of, that some helpful soul will come across her while she is defenseless and stuff a spoon in her mouth. Stuffing a pen in the mouth is equally Not the Right Thing to Do. If you don't believe me, believe the Epilepsy Foundation.

So, what should you do? It's easy, and you don't need to be particularly heroic:

  • Move anything dangerous out of the way.
  • If the person is in a dangerous place, like the middle of the road or the edge of a subway station or face down in a puddle, move the person having the seizure out of the way of harm, just like you would for anyone else you find in a dangerous place.
  • Wait with the person to keep panicky sorts of helpers from stuffing things in their mouth or doing CPR or other inappropriate things.
  • Do not restrain the person having the seizure.

  • Seizures generally don't last more than five minutes or so, but afterwards, the person who had the seizure will likely be tired and maybe a bit fuzzy. Ask them if they would like a chair, a drink, a bite to eat. Ask if they would like you to stay with them for a bit. At this point, they will be able to tell you what they need. Believe them when they say they're OK.

    Now, isn't that easy?


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