The recent accident involving United States Commerce Secretary John Bryson affords an opportunity to address problems inherent in first responders' encounters with people suffering a seizure. Lest you think this doesn't concern you, please keep reading; because it's likely you, or someone close to you, will eventually have your first seizure, too.
Like Sec. Bryson, you have a one in ten chance of suffering an unprovoked seizure during your lifetime. Once you've had one, your risk of having a second seizure jumps to 33%. After two, the risk of having more rises to an astronomical 75%. No one is immune.
Seizures come in many forms, some easily recognizable, some not. You won't get to choose which kind you'll have, or when it will happen. It will bring uncontrollable physical manifestations or changes in your behavior. Afterward, during the postictal state (post-seizure confusion), you may be unable to react normally to your surroundings and have no recollection of the seizure itself. Many first responders will think you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or intentionally resisting, though in reality, you are experiencing a medical emergency.
So, unlike Sec. Bryson, instead of being taken to a hospital, you, or your loved one, may be brutally beaten and tassered for noncompliance, restrained (potentially lethal during a seizure), arrested, sent to jail, fined, labeled a criminal, etc. Your name may appear in the news with a description of your “criminal” or embarrassing behavior. It's likely there will be no medical evidence proving it was a seizure; even if there is, it's unlikely you'll receive news coverage to exonerate your name. So besides your health trauma, you'll be left feeling publicly humiliated.
Let's use Sec. Bryson's unfortunate incident to motivate us toward better responses. A person acting bizarrely may be experiencing a seizure. They should receive appropriate treatment and be kept safe from harm.