April 29, 2013 10:14:12 AM
To Mr. Al Cardenas and family (Voice of the people, Sunday, April 28),
As the husband of an epileptic and a former EMT-B, I can tell you that you did exactly right. When our son was still in diapers, he knew what to do, and indeed did do, to take care of his mother when she had gran mal seizures. You and your wife and daughter are to be commended for taking action as you did. I'm sure the woman and her daughter both deeply appreciate your help.
If an epileptic has a gran mal, help them fall as softly as possible to the floor, and keep them from harming themselves but don't try to restrain them. Their strength during a seizure can be incredible. Put something in the patient's mouth, like a billfold or folded leather belt, to keep them from chewing their tongue or grinding their teeth. Place something under their head like your feet or shoes, so they won't injure their head on the floor. Above all, to the rest of you who don't help, PLEASE do not stand around and stare. Some epileptics are sensitive about having seizures.
As for the two nurses at the First Aid center in Walmart, I don't know what their SOP is. They operate under the license of a doctor, and have to go by his rules. I don't know what Walmart's policy is concerning that, either, but several years ago I was on an ambulance in Columbus when we had a call to respond to Walmart. A customer had passed out, I believe from the heat, but now can't remember. A Walmart employee was doing an excellent job administering first aid until we arrived.
After giving the paramedic the vital signs, and symptoms, he returned to work and left us to our job. It wouldn't hurt for Walmart and every other business to have their employees trained in basic first aid for situations such as this.
In today's sue-happy world, I can't blame people for not wanting to get involved. The Good Samaritan Law protects people from being sued if they try to help in an emergency. Better consult a lawyer on that one. Most untrained people do not know what to do or NOT do in emergency situations and either wind up doing nothing or the wrong thing.
When a father encourages his small daughter to sue the makers of Cracker Jacks because she didn't get a toy in her box, or a woman gets a cup of coffee in McDonald's drive-thru and promptly spills it in her lap and sues for damages, we're in trouble. Personal opinion: Those lawyers should have been disbarred for frivolous lawsuits.
Columbus has a citizens' police academy, where the public can learn a little about being a police officer. It wouldn't hurt for BMH-GT, MUW Nursing program, or a church or two to sponsor First Aid courses for the general public. Who knows? The life you save might be that of someone very close to you.
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