Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario would like to acknowledge a recent incident in Hamilton, Ontario involving Hamilton Police Service and a person with epilepsy who experienced a seizure during or around the time of the interaction with emergency professionals. We are disheartened to learn that the individual suffered injuries during the encounter when the situation intensified, allegedly as a result of the seizure that the individual was experiencing or had experienced.
About 1 in 100 Canadians live with epilepsy, and about 1 in 10 people will have a single seizure in their lifetime. While seizures are common, knowledge of seizures is less so. It is important for everyone, and especially emergency professionals, to be aware of the varying presentations of seizures and to know how to respond appropriately to ensure the safety of all involved. The Canadian Police Knowledge Network provides access to Epilepsy and Seizure Response Training for Law Enforcement, through the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance. Currently this training is optional, rather than mandatory.
ESWO is committed to raising awareness of epilepsy, providing public education, and supporting individuals with epilepsy and seizures. We continue to monitor the situation and await more details but recognize that this highlights the necessity of further/mandatory training for emergency services professionals to enhance knowledge of seizures, seizure first aid, and how individuals may behave and respond during a seizure.