Oldham dad demands greater awareness around epilepsy

Date published: 25 November 2020

The father of an Oldham teenager who experiences a seizure EVERY WEEK, has called on the public to gain a stronger knowledge of what to do when they see someone having an epileptic fit.

Akke Rahman’s daughter Tasneem has had four years of attacks resulting in her dropping plates, displaying muscle spasms, and even wounding her tongue.

But with health services under the cosh because of COVID-19, she hasn’t even been able to get a proper diagnosis of what she describes as, “zoning out.”

Family, friends, schoolteachers at the North Chadderton School and even Oldham Council’s Epilepsy specialists have rallied to the 13-year-old’s cause – putting in emergency plans and making sure she is accompanied when out and about.

But with ignorance around epilepsy rife, dad Akke is worried that further fits could result in serious injuries.

“From spiritual possession to beliefs that it is somehow caught, people’s view on epilepsy is still blinded by myth” said Akke, “and the strange ways people cope with a seizure range from sheer panic to putting rulers and even bamboo in the person’s mouth. With our doctors under so much pressure and waiting time for ambulances on the rise, we must all educate ourselves on issues such as CPR and what to do when you witness a seizure.”

Diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy four years ago, Tasneem has been experiencing more fits than most and her family have now been waiting twelve months for a proper brain scan to determine if her condition has deteriorated. A particularly bad seizure occurred when charity fundraising mountaineer Akke was aboard a plane destined for Mount Elbrus. Apart from feeling worried and powerless, the experience inspired him to raise money for epilepsy charities – which he plans to do in 2021.

According to the NHS Choices website, what you should do if you see someone having a seizure, is:

• Only move them if they are in danger – such as near a busy road or hot cooker

• Cushion their head if they are on the ground

• Loosen any tight clothing around their neck – such as a collar of tie - to aid breathing

• When their convulsions stop, turn them so that they are lying on their side

• Stay with them and talk to them calmly until they recover

• Note the time the seizure starts and finishes

You should not put anything in their mouth, including your fingers. The patient should not have any food or drink until they fully recover – go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/what-to-do-if-someone-has-a-seizure-fit/

Tasneem said: “I used to have seizures in my sleep and wake-up crying but lately I have been doing things like collapsing into my friend’s lap! I am embarrassed when I have a seizure and I hope it doesn’t stop me from driving.”

Reports have shown that routine hospital procedures have had to wait up to six times longer than before the COVID-19 outbreak.

There are a myriad of excellent charities helping people living with epilepsy, including the Epilepsy Society, visit https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/

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