While most of us are snuggled up, toasty warm in bed all night, neurodiagnostic technologists like Chris Talbert are up sitting in front of a monitor watching young patients sleep. Talbert is part of the new Epilepsy Monitoring Unit team that tracks young patients, looking for clues to help determine the cause of their seizures.
“We monitor the patients constantly,” Talbert says. “We have to watch closely. Most seizures are two to three minutes long. As soon as I see something, I let the nurses know.”
The first of its kind in the region, the units are designed to give physicians the best opportunity to evaluate seizures and try to determine their cause since seizures often occur while a patient is sleeping.
“It’s scary,” says Vilievy Flores, of Naples. “We have no family history of something like this.” Her son, 10 year old Emilio Suarez, had two unexplained seizures last summer and recently spent a night in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit for testing.
Flores says that having the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit is so important because monitoring Emilio’s brain for an extended period of time will lead to answers.
“It’s very thorough. During the night, while I was sleeping in the room with him, I woke up and one of the techs was here, adjusting the wires. They were so quiet.”
The best part for Emilio was sleeping through the test. “I didn’t know it (the seizures) happened,” he says. “My brother showed me pictures after I was conscious. I’m asleep when it happens.”
“One of the best components of this test is that it can be tailored individually for each child. We can keep a child for an overnight stay or up to several days depending on what information we need,” says pediatric neurologist Guillermo Philipps, M.D. “We use this information to determine the best course of treatment. We are really pleased to offer this service because it helps families get answers.”
Lee Memorial Health System opened the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida as part of its recent partnership with Miami Children’s Hospital.
Like many patient care enhancements at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, donations made the purchase of the new equipment possible. Thousands of community members support the hospital each year and their generosity provides tremendous benefits for these young patients.