Singapore Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Ltd (SMRT) thanked a MRT passenger who jumped to the aid of another commuter who had apparently suffered a generalized tonic–clonic seizure on board a train on Mar 4.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a generalized tonic–clonic seizure (also known as a grand mal seizure) “causes a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions”. The seizure, which typically initiates abruptly, “is caused by abnormal electrical activity throughout the brain.”
Recounting the incident online, the commuter who jumped to the aid of the passenger suffering expressed surprise that there were no spinal boards installed in the trains to aid ill passengers.
Identifying himself as an expatriate, the commuter wondered whether it is possible for rail networks to install spinal boards in trains to better assist commuters who suffer from seizures and other such conditions that may injure their spinal cords:
“Guy on the MRT had a grand maul seizure and I ended up having to give him aid. Once the train stopped I asked the aunties for a spinal board because I was trying to hold him down because he was in a dazed altered state of mind after the seizure and kept trying to stand.
“They said the only think they had was a wheel chair with no straps or belt on it to restrain him. Why doesn’t the MRT station have spinal boards or am I using the wrong term as an expat?
“…Is there any way I can put in a suggestion for the MRT to have a spinal board on the platform wall, there is plenty of room and I would have felt much better about moving him off the train with a board instead of a hand carrying him off the train and not being able to keep his head and spine straight and stable.”
A spinal board is a patient handling device used primarily in pre-hospital trauma care. It is designed to provide rigid support during movement of a person with suspected spinal or limb injuries.
Applauding the commuter for his quick actions in helping the other passenger, netizens responded that a spinal board may not be as necessary in trains as he might think. One medical student said:
adognow: “Med student here. If someone in the postictal (confused, postseizure) state demonstrates wandering tendencies it’s entirely appropriate to let them do so in a supervised manner. Just make sure they don’t fall or hurt themselves until EMTs arrive.
“This is because any attempt to forcibly restrain a wandering postictal patient can provoke aggression in the sense that they may attempt to attack the person restraining them by punching, biting, kicking; essentially any type of animalistic aggression.
“There was a case we came across where a wandering postictal patient in a non-medical setting was confined to a room for their own safety, and they promptly climbed out of the window and fell to their death.”
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