Seizures : Emergency Room
Contrary to popular belief, many patients are misdiagnosed with seizures when in fact they have panic attacks. Seizures can be very debilitating and it is important that doctors are correctly diagnosing these patients. For example, seizure medications often have negative side effects. If a patient is having panic attacks instead of seizures, treatment for anxiety could help alleviate symptoms without any complications from medications. Urgent care centers offer more direct support for patients than hospitals and can treat them in a timely manner rather than wait on long lines of people who all need immediate attention. There has been evidence that suggests even with hospital-grade equipment, emergency rooms misdiagnose 10% of all cases they see.
If you are seizing, get yourself or a loved one to an emergency room as soon as possible. A seizure itself doesn’t mean you should go straight to an ER—especially if you already know it’s epilepsy and your doctor has said there’s nothing that can be done until your next appointment. (That said, seizures shouldn’t be taken lightly. They can lead to serious injury.) If your first seizure is accompanied by confusion, difficulty moving, a high fever or lethargy and you have no history of seizures or epilepsy, call 911 immediately. Also seek urgent care if you feel like you are going into another seizure but aren’t able to make it out of bed/your home due to fear of injuring yourself.
Some people believe that if you witness a seizure, you should take someone experiencing one directly to an emergency room. This can be dangerous for several reasons: First, it’s unlikely that doctors in an ER will have any experience dealing with seizures (there aren’t many cases of them). Second, even if a doctor does decide to treat a seizure immediately with medication or other interventions, they may not know how much medication is too much—putting your loved one at risk of injury. Third, many hospitals will give priority treatment (and scarce resources) to those who appear most ill and/or injured—even when another patient has more urgent needs. When medical professionals are busy treating someone who arrived first, they may overlook others who are in greater need.