Well, a lot more than you might think. Complex-partial seizures often look like someone is drunk or on drugs. So, what happens when that someone suffers a complex-partial seizure in public and begins to wander around, lip smack, pick at clothes and possible lose bladder control? Will people understand what is going on? Probably not. They may even think the person is abusing drugs and might call the police.
If the police are not trained to look for certain clues that the person is having a seizure, they may mistake it for other things. They may tell the person to stop and put their hands behind their back. If that happens, will the person suffering a seizure respond to the police's command? Absolutely not. Their consciousness is altered and they can not respond. This can easily be mistaken for resisting arrest.
Because of the efforts by affiliates around the nation, the staff and volunteers for the Epilepsy Foundation hope that this frightening scenario happens fewer and fewer times. We have been diligently out in the community educating police officers and first responders to be able to recognize complex-partial seizures. During 2009 and 2010, we conducted 12 in-service trainings for area departments, educating 171 police officers. We are gearing up for a very successful 2011 in which we have about 30 sessions scheduled with area departments in Cleveland, Chattanooga, Soddy Daisy and Athens.
Please consider donating to the Epilepsy Foundation. Every penny goes to helping people with epilepsy in our community, and educating people, such as police, how to respond to someone having a seizure. We look forward to keeping you up to date with how your donations are being spent to further this cause in southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia.