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Was I in the wrong to try to call 911?


Has 2 years experience.

Hello. I am just a recent nursing graduate and I am just wondering if anybody can help me out with this problem I am having.

So I am doing a show that involves a lot of people. During rehearsal, I heard a young girl scream for help because someone was having a seizure. I immediately rushed to the area where the girl was and her friends said she fell and she also hit her head. I started calling 911 and the director told me to not call because it was at her mother's discretion. So I hung up. The "seizure" lasted about 3 minutes. One of the kids that knew her told me that she faked having seizures in elementary school and had this mental disorder where she fakes illnesses in order to seek attention. Was I in the wrong to try to call 911? I have no clue if the director knew she had the disorder. The reason I tried to call is that she could have injured herself by hitting her head and so there are no liabilities. Another thing that bothered me was that there are two RNs in the show and they were **** talking about the girl for faking the seizure and that they counted how long she was in the seizure for and there was no way she was really having a seizure for 3 minutes. My issues are 1. The nurses were no where in sight when it happened. 2. Seizures can be for 3 minutes(I thought so) and 3. God show a little empathy; if the girl has a serious mental disorder don't make fun of her. I have seen someone faking a seizure before in a hospital but I was able to pick up she was faking it, but this one looked real.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

Was the patient's mother present for the seizure?


Has 1 years experience.

If someone hit their head and started having a seizure I would call 911 as well.


Specializes in PACU, pre/postoperative, ortho. Has 10 years experience.

Unless the mom was standing right there with her daughter saying don't call, I'd call. And even then, I think mom would have to be pretty convincing. You don't know the girl or hx; err on the side if caution.

I'd call 911 too. I have seizure disorder - turn the person on their side to keep them from aspirating, protect them from hurting themselves further depending on how severe the seizure is and yes, please, call 911.

You have absolutely no idea what the history is here . . . better safe than sorry. Those folks in the crowd were very unkind.

Oh and . . .don't force anything in their mouth to keep them from "swallowing" their tongue. :rolleyes:

emtb2rn, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency. Has 21 years experience.

Call 911. Get the bus rolling. Let them rma if they want after medics on scene.

akulahawkRN, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 6 years experience.

Generally, I agree with emtb2rn. Consider getting the ambulance rolling and let the medics evaluate the situation and determine if they can release at scene. Something else to consider is that sometimes parents do provide information to others about their kids... like "my kid likes to fake seizures to get attention so don't call 911, the kid doesn't have a seizure disorder." When dealing with minors, sometimes the parents sign releases allowing the director, or whomever else is in charge, to deal with medical problems in the absence of the parent. If this is the case, then the director may have been actually given the authority (by the parents) to not have you call 911. If you're not sure that this is the case, then you should then call 911 and have the crew determine if the kid needs to be transported.

When in doubt-refer them out.


Specializes in LTC, med/surg, hospice. Has 7 years experience.

No you were not wrong to try and call 911. You did not know anything of her history and truly still don't beyond what they told you.

No you were not wrong. Even if Mom said "don't call" I would anyways, and let the EMT's get a release signed from Mom if she decides her child should not be transported. That covers you.

There are personality disorders that can cause psuedo-seizures. But you know what, it is not up to anyone to diagnose this in other than a medical setting by an MD.

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

next time, call 911 and let others do the explaining. How in the world do they know for sure that she is faking? what if she quits breathing?

Momma1RN, BSN, RN

Has 7 years experience.

I would have called. I'm surprised they didn't want to- imagine the liability if she was seizing and sustained a head injury?

I would call even if the mother were there saying not to. If I see someone that looks like they may be hurt, I will seek medical attention every single time

KelRN215, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pedi. Has 10 years experience.

Ok, first, just have to point this out. Someone having a pseudoseizure is not "faking" a seizure. They are a symptom of mental illness and the person is not consciously saying "I am going to fake a seizure to get attention."

Personally, I wouldn't call 911 for a seizure that lasted 3 min and self-resolved but in the OP's situation, I don't think it was wrong to do so.


Specializes in ED, ICU, Education. Has 7 years experience.

So what happened after her "seizure"? Did she get up and skip away?

A huge part of being a nurse is doing what you believe is right even when other people don't agree. You were being a good patient advocate by calling 911. Next time, go through with it! You never know what could have happened to the girl. What if she stopped breathing?

Well you chose safety as a priority! Thats what matters. If it looked real to you well it is a possibility unless shes very good at acting. I would of done the same with or without her mom giving you permission. You did the right thing. If I recall correctly you could seize for 3 minutes.

Although seizures seem to last a long time, they usually do not last more than 60 to 90 seconds. Time the seizure, if you can. If the seizure lasts longer than 3 minutes or the person seizing is pregnant (no matter how long the seizure lasts), call 911 or other emergency services immediately. http://Www.webmd.com... reference