A student with epilepsy who had a seizure in class last week has thrown the spotlight on campus preparedness for medical emergencies.
Wits students tweeted about a student suffering an epileptic seizure during a fourth-year law lecture at the FNB Building, West Campus.
According to an eye-witness, in a state of panic the lecturer did not know what to do or who to call.
The university website states that in a case of emergency, there are emergency panic buttons at numerous locations throughout the campus.
It says these can be identified by the orange panel surrounding the buttons and students and staff are encouraged, in the case of a genuine emergency, to press the button to speak to Campus Control.
“From my experiences, some don’t know what’s going on,” said Witsie Olwethu Twala, who suffers from epilepsy.
Twala said dealing with epilepsy on campus has been a daunting task.
“The first episode I had was in Psychology and luckily the lecturer had an idea of what was going on. I then had episodes in Anthropology and African Languages where the lecturer left because she didn’t know what to do,” said Twala.
Wits Campus Health told Wits Vuvuzela that, in the case of medical emergencies, students are to be taken to the clinic.
If the student is able to walk they should make their way down to the medical centre immediately. In the case where a student is unable to make their way to them, a nurse will be sent to assist.
While Campus Health may be available to assist, some students like Twala have resorted to creating a buddy system to ensure their safety on campus. “If you don’t have a friend who knows about your condition, you will find yourself in serious danger. I had to tell and train a friend in each of my classes to know what to do in case I have a seizure,” said Twala.
But despite this, Twala believes more should be done by the university. “The university needs to create awareness and help for the health centre and disabilities unit.”
Twala said: “A lot of the time people don’t think an episode is as serious as it is. Some think you’re just hungry, seeking attention or just faking it to get out of an assignment.”
Campus Control was not available for comment at the time of publication to confirm how well equipped the university and staff are to deal with medical emergencies.