Emergency Response Protocol
There may be an occasion when a student's condition needs immediate intervention in the classroom. The most likely examples are seizures, diabetic shock (insulin reaction), emergency evacuation, and heart attacks. Should such a situation arise, call the University Police (765-285-1111) immediately. Give the building name, room number, and description of the emergency. Although an ambulance is usually not needed for most seizure incidents and insulin reactions, University Police may transport the student to the Health Center for additional treatment and observation until the crisis is under control.
Seizures are often very frightening to those who witness them, and seizures can cause serious damage to a person's health and well-being. Nevertheless, there are those individuals who experience seizures on a recurrent basis and who have in the past always recovered uneventfully. Those individuals sometimes experience considerable expense and inconvenience related to repeated trips to the hospital via ambulance in response to these seizures. Those individuals may request that in the event of a seizure they simply be left alone until they regain their self-sufficiency. Although Ball State University is sensitive to this desire, there is some risk in granting this request. Even if an individual has never experienced complications from a seizure, there is no guarantee that such complications will not occur in the future.
If a student experiences a loss of consciousness in a public place on the university campus, 5-1111 or 911 should be called, and emergency medical help summoned. This should occur even if a student has made a request in advance to not be taken to the hospital in event of a seizure. If a student recovers consciousness prior to emergency personnel transporting them away from the university, and the student at that point declines to go to the hospital, those wishes should be respected at that time. If a student experiences seizure activity but does not lose consciousness, and the student is able to communicate that they do not wish for emergency help to be summoned, then there are two acceptable courses of action. The faculty or staff may choose not to call for help, or if there is concern that the student is making a poor choice, emergency help may be summoned and the student will still have the opportunity to refuse help after discussing their situation with the emergency response personnel.
Here are some other helpful tips from the Epilepsy Foundation of America:
1. Remain calm. Students will assume the same emotional reaction as the faculty or staff member. The seizure is painless to the person who is experiencing it.
2. Do not try to restrain the person. There is nothing you can do to stop a seizure once it has begun; it must run its course.
3. Clear the area around the person so that the student is not injured on hard or sharp objects. Try not to interfere with movements in any way.
4. Do not force anything between the teeth. If the person's mouth is already open, you might place a soft object like a handkerchief between the side teeth.
5. It is not generally necessary to call a doctor unless the attack is followed almost immediately by another major seizure, or the seizure lasts more than about ten minutes.
6. When the seizure is over, let the person rest if he or she needs to.
7. Turn the incident into a learning experience for the class. Explain that the condition is not contagious and that it is nothing to be afraid of.