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Student suffers seizure while in library computer lab

By Hannah Simpson
Senior Staff Writer

A student had a seizure in the library computer lab on Feb. 8. Terria Sinclair, a student in the lab at the time of the seizure, said she dialed 911 at 10:36 a.m., immediately after the student’s seizure began.
           
Nurses from the UNCP infirmary arrived at 10:55 a.m. to help the student, followed by paramedics and the campus police, said nurse Tammy Harris, one of the nurses that aided the student.
           
Harris said that the infirmary received the call and rushed to the library, followed closely by campus police and two ambulances.
           
The police report, filed by Sgt. Stephen Brooks, read that the student “appeared very weak and was not responding to the nurse” when the officer arrived at 11 a.m.
           
Sinclair, a senior, said that she remembered hearing a book hit the ground. When she turned to look, Sinclair noticed a student lying on the floor.
           
“It was scary,” Sinclair said. “I asked if anybody knew what to do.”
           
Sinclair said that she and several other students went to the aid of the fallen student. With help, Sinclair secured the student on the student’s side.
           
Meghan Hawkins, a junior, said she remembers being passed the student’s cell phone, with which she first called the police and then tried to call the student’s parents. The parents where unavailable, but she left a message with the student’s aunt.
           
Gionte McMillan, a junior, said that the emergency operators instructed the aiding students on what to do.  The operators coached those helping to hold the student down.
           
Hawkins said that the student tried to sit up more than once. The students that were helping were able to restrain the student by holding them on their side.
           
Infirmary nurse Tammy Harris said that the best thing to do for students experiencing a seizure is to let them lie on the floor.
           
“A seizure is really not an emergency,” Harris said. “But, it just scares people to death.”
           
While having a seizure, a person should not be moved, and the only time they should be touched is to restrain them from hurting themselves, Harris said.
           
Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor for student affairs, said that the proper procedure for students during times of emergency is to immediately call the campus police.
           
Jones said that the campus police have a direct line to the infirmary, and they will be able to give instruction on how to handle an emergency situation.
           
Not every campus telephone has an emergency contact sign above it, which consists of the campus police number, Jones said.
           
Jones said she will begin the process of having emergency contact signs posted above every on-campus, public phone immediately.
           
Jones asked that students use common sense when in an emergency and do the following:
• Call the campus police immediately.
• If a student cannot reach the police for any reason, locate any personnel, faculty or staff of UNCP for assistance and allow them to contact the police.
• Follow the instructions that the police/infirmary gives on how to handle the situation.
           
Jones gave an example to illustrate her point: suppose a student has fallen and succumbed to paralysis, she said.

Another student, without knowing how to handle the situation, may try to move the injured student without knowing the consequences of their actions and hurt the student more.
           
“(The university) would not try to initiate legal action against a student trying to help,” said Jones. “If the student was acting in good faith, that would not be the university’s position.”
           
However, Jones said, that does not mean that the family of the injured would not press charges.
           
Jones also said contacting relatives should be the decision of the student or, in a life-threatening situation, the infirmary.
           
Students are required to fill out an emergency contact number on their health form, Jones said. That number will be called at the student’s request or the discretion of the infirmary.

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Updated: Thursday, February 22, 2007
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