Know how to react to those with neurological disorders like epilepsy

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — Bay area resident Patty Livengood living with epilepsy is on a mission to educate her community. Working with University of South Florida Health and Tampa General Hospital, she’s organized a group of neurology professionals to spread awareness, based on her own personal experiences with the physical effects of neurological disorders.

“I was laying on my parents’ bed and watching TV, and the next thing I knew, I was on the floor,” says Patty Livengood.

Livengood was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was just 13-years old. More than 40 years later, she still suffers from seizures, almost monthly.

“It brings all the air out of my body,” she explains.

In those frightening moments, her husband jumps in to help. He’s had years of practice, but Livengood fears those with neurological disorders can find themselves in trouble if there’s nobody nearby. Alternately, being surrounded by people who don’t know how to react can be just as dangerous.

“The one thing you don’t want to do, contrary to kind of an old wives tale, is put anything in their mouth. Typically what we say is make the area safe, get them to the ground, and just roll them on their side. The thought with that is they wont choke on their secretions,” explains USF/TGH neurologist Dr. Alfred Frontera.

Dr. Frontera adds calling 911 immediately is crucial. He is one of several doctors helping Livengood create awareness about neurological disorders and stroke.

The message: we all need to learn how we can help, and patients can have full lives. For example, Livengood is married mom with a career and a cause.

She tells News Channel 8, “I have a beautiful family. I didn’t let epilepsy stop me from living a great life.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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