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May 1994

Conscientious Neurologists Treat In-Flight Epilepsy

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology, Forsyth Memorial Hospital (Dr Spudis) and Bowman Gray Medical School (Dr Penry), and the Comprehensive Epilepsy Clinic, North Carolina Baptist Hospital (Ms Graves), Winston-Salem, NC.

Arch Neurol. 1994;51(5):519-520. doi:10.1001/archneur.1994.00540170103021

What is the likelihood that a neurologist would be asked to help manage an epileptic attack in one of the 500 million Americans expected to fly next year? During a 30-year career exposure, we calculate the risks to vary widely between 4% and 60%, depending on plane size, the recreational attitudes and ages of fellow travelers, and flight durations. Long flights with elderly travelers to small medical centers are riskier. We endorse samaritanism. Quick differential diagnosis may be the most valuable contribution. We do not suggest that physicians carry antiepileptic medications. (Arch Neurol. 1994;51:519-520)

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