Seizure on a stationary bike

I was at the health club tonight, working out on the stationary bike. With about ten minutes to go, I heard a loud thunk. A rider behind me had suddenly fallen off his bike. A quick look told me he was having a seizure.

Someone else ran to tell the front desk, leaving me alone with the guy. There was no blood coming from his mouth, so he hadn’t bitten his tongue. And his jaw was clamped, so he wasn’t going to either. Other than that, there wasn’t anything for me to do. When the guys from the front desk came, I went back to my workout.

The paramedics came, and they really couldn’t do anything for him either. They certainly weren’t hustling him off to the hospital. He eventually recovered enough to answer some questions and I gather this hadn’t happened to him before.

Anyway, kind of a bizarre situation. Certainly hope it doesn’t happen to me.

Doing nothing is exactly the right response. If you try to hold a person who is having a seizure, chances are pretty good one of you is going to get hurt. Moving loose objects he might hit his head on is a good idea, but mostly all you can do with a seizure is watch and wait.

I’m a little surprised the ambulance folks didn’t want to take him with them if he’d never had a seizure before. When my son had his first seizure, they took him to the hospital with the lights and sirens and everything. Too bad he slept through it all :stuck_out_tongue:

With an ordinary seizure, the proper response is to let it run it’s course. Do things to keep the patient from getting injured, such as move furniture out of the way, or lower them to the floor if they in a position where they can fall, but otherwise let it go.

Even if they bite their tongue, there’s nothing you can do until they relax.

About the only thing I can do for a seizure patient is to check their blood sugar level. Some seizures are caused by a sugar crash, in other cases where seizures are prolonged and keep coming, they can cause a sugar crash. A paramedic can administer valium to break the seizure cycle, FWIW.


When I was in EMT-I school, I was coming home from work and stopped at a grocery store to get something for din-din. As soon as I got in the door, I hear some idiot shouting “Call 911! He’s having a seizure!”, and in general being extremely panicked. He had some other guy loaded into a shopping cart, much like the mayor’s drunken jailbait daughter in Animal House.

The guy in the cart was coming out of it. I helped him get out, looked for injury, found none, and helped him walk away from the loudmouth. I asked the guy if he was OK. He couldn’t talk but could nod yes; this is common for people coming out of a seizure. We were joined by another guy who was apparently familiar with the patient, because he confirmed a steady history of epilepsy.

Apparently, the loudmouth found the other guy in the men’s room seizing, loaded him in the cart and went looking for someone to call an ambulance. :rolleyes:

To make the situation even more weird, the topic for the week was neurologic emergencies.

Oof. Seizures are the worst. My cousin has a mild form of epilepsy, and the day he seized when it was only him and me in the house was awful. Not much you can do except make sure the area around him is clear and wait it out. So you did all right.

I know this was a serious situation, but that sounds like one of those things that’s very scary when it happens, but hilarious afterwards. It definitely gave me a chuckle. It also made me scratch my head a little. I have a seizure disorder and I can’t imagine anyone being able to load me into a cart in the middle of convulsions. I guess this guy was more, um, flexible than I am mid-seizure? I hope he didn’t seize naked. That would’ve been awkward.

Thankfully, only one person has attempted to shove something in my mouth while I was seizing, and my jaws were clamped so tight they couldn’t open my mouth to do so.

The OP did exactly the right thing - just stay with the person until they come out of it, moving anything hard or pointy they might bash their head into.

Actually, Loudmouth found the guy seizing, and ran out to find a cart. By the time he got back, seizing guy was postictal and therefore flexible. Seizing guy’s clothes were all in place, FTR. :wink:

Seizing guy would experience auras, so he had some warning that one was coming. He went to the men’s room to have a bit of privacy instead of to take care of the usual business.

ETA: It’s one of my favorite war stories.

One of the scarier things I’ve seen in regards to seizures was a fellow CTA passenger having a seizure waiting on the El platform on the Red Line. This was back when it was actually the Howard/Jackson Park/Dan Ryan line, so you know it was a few decades ago, and it was on an older, narrow wooden platform. We’re pretty much just leaving him to have his seizure (yes, sometimes the bystanders do know what to do or rather not do) when his flailing started to shift him over the edge of the platform. And of course we can see a train coming down the tracks. So a couple of us grabbed his heels, dragged him back fully onto the platform, and hung on as the train rolled into the station. Other than that, though, we didn’t try to restrain him. He started coming out of it while the train conductor came over to look at him. They did call for EMT’s - maybe it was standard procedure? - but by the time they arrived the man was back to talking, although still a bit out of it. Long history of epilepsy, couldn’t drive hence he took the CTA to get around…

After the fact it was largely a non-event, but seeing someone seizing their way to falling onto railroad tracks while a train is coming is NOT a good feeling, even if it wasn’t a close call.

I witnessed a guy have a seizure. Someone else called 911 but didn’t know what to tell them, so they passed their phone to me when they realized I knew what to say. The guy was in the middle of the sidewalk, so he was okay where he was to ride it out. The only thing that worried me was that he had a dental appliance–abridge or partial plate or something and it had come out of place. I was worried that he’d choke on it.

Yeah, IANA EMT or anything, but just about every single safety measure I’ve read about seizures seems to suggest that the danger is more external (hard objects, or the situation Broomstick described) than internal. You did what you could–I personally would’ve worried that he’d hit his head on the way down, but based on the paramedics’ response, I guess that must not have happened.

I saw someone have a seizure in the waiting room of family practice doctors. THEY called the EMTs who came and took him away. Maybe he had a condition that required handling a seizure more aggressively.

The paramedics didn’t take him to the hospital???

And I know in the state I live you are not allowed to drive a motor vehicle until you have been seizure-free for one year. So what did they do? Leave and let the guy drive himself home? Jeez…

Not everybody that has a seizure needs to go to the hospital. If someone has a known history of seizures, isn’t having seizures more often than usual, and is taking their medications as prescribed, they’ll probably get little benefit from an ER visit.

Even if those things aren’t met, if the patient is awake and alert with no signs of impaired judgement (alcohol, drugs, still post-ictal, etc), paramedics generally can’t make someone go to the hospital if they don’t want to.

St. Urho

Exactly. I was taken to the ER once after a seizure and waited around for three hours while the docs dealt with far more serious cases than mine, only to get a dose of the same medication I always took and an instruction to call my doctor the next day so he could reevaluate my medication. I really wanted to leave, but my husband had come from work and wanted me to stay, so I did. I would’ve preferred to have rested at home in bed. My body hurts like hell after a seizure and I often have a days-long migraine. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck on a gurney in the middle of a very busy ER when there were people around me who needed far more urgent attention than I did.

My roommate has frequent seizures. She usually can’t remember what happened before the seizure, sometimes the memory loss goes back months, though anything long term tends to come back within a few minutes. She wakes up in a very confused state of mind and it’s very hard for her to concentrate.

I find it helpful to reassure her and let her know what’s going on. “You’re at home, you just had a seizure, everything’s fine,” that sort of thing. Beyond that, there isn’t much you can do.

A friend of mine is a hairstylist; one of her clients had a siezure while he was getting his hair cut. He started twitching, and she stood back for a second, then he flew foward out of the chair and smashed head first into the mirror in front of her station. He collapsed on the floor, bleeding heavily from multiple scalp wounds. Luckily someone had called 911 right away, so the paramedics arrived quickly. The man recovered, but she had trouble going back to work for a couple of weeks after that.

I had to leave while the paramedics were still talking to the guy (the club was closing). But the next day I talked to the club staff about the incident. They said that a family member came and took him home.

You are assuming the seizure victim drove himself to the fitness club to begin with. That information is unknown.

First time seizure? Call the medics and transport to the ER - it could be extremely serious.

Injury incurred either by falling down or from flailing around? Evaluate as any other injury, call medics if warranted, otherwise, keep person as safe as possible while they come out of it.

Seizure in someone with a history of seizures, not of unusual (for them) intensity, duration, or frequency? Probably NOT an emergency. Don’t panic.

Medical professionals, is that a fair rundown?