Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has a Seizure

Monday, December 29, 2008

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has a Seizure

Contact: Karen Basha Egozi (w) 305-670-4949 / © 786-999-2316,

Yesterday, the Supreme Court reported that had a “benign, idiopathic seizure” of unknown origin at his home in Maine. The Court also reported he experienced a similar event in 1993.

Epilepsy is characterized by the occurrence of more than one unprovoked seizure. Epilepsy is a common neurological condition affecting more than 3 million Americans (1 out of every 100) and more than 50 million people worldwide. Epilepsy can occur at any time to any person of any race, national origin, background, occupation or country.

Seizures should be evaluated by experts, such as a neurologist or epileptologist (a neurologist specializing in epilepsy) to determine the underlying causes and appropriate treatment. There are many different types of seizures. They may be controlled by medications or other methods. Generally, however, many people with epilepsy lead completely normal and fulfilling lives.

Unfortunately, there are also a number of myths associated with epilepsy and seizures. People who live with epilepsy do not want to be labeled by their seizures nor do they want to be called “epileptics” or have their seizures called “fits.” They want to live their lives free of the stigma frequently associated with epilepsy. For example, there are still some mistaken beliefs that people experiencing a seizure could swallow their tongues – WRONG! The age-old myth about putting a spoon in the mouth of someone having a seizure could actually be harmful to someone having a seizure, or to the person who comes to his/her aid.

Story Resources

- Washington Post: Chief Justice Suffers Seizure

- Chief Justice Roberts says he's fine after seizure

- The Epilepsy Index, an educational Web resource for general epilepsy information,

Suggested Interview Questions

- What should you do – or NOT do – if someone experiences a seizure?

- How can you tell if someone is experiencing a seizure?

- What are the different types of seizures, including generalized tonic clonic, absence and simple partial?

- What causes seizures and how can they be prevented?

- What type of physician can treat epilepsy?

- What treatment options are available for someone with epilepsy?

- How might this occurrence affect the recently introduced ADA Restoration Act of 2007?

- Might this occurrence have an affect on the way our incoming veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that lead to epilepsy are treated?

- Is there a difference between epilepsy and seizure disorders?

Fast Facts

- More than 3 million Americans live with epilepsy.

- 360,000 Floridians are among its sufferers.

- Epilepsy affects people of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds.

- Every year, 181,000 Americans will develop seizures and epilepsy for the first time.

- With proper antiepileptic medications, most people with epilepsy can lead normal lives full of everyday experiences such as driving and making meaningful contributions to society via full-time employment.

- The condition can develop at any time of life, especially in early childhood and old age.

Interview Opportunities

- Patricia Dean, MSN/ARNP, president, the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida.

- Jose Gonzalez, director of medical services, the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida.

- R. Eugene Ramsay, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, Director International Center For Epilepsy, University of Miami.

- Jeff Gelblum, M.D., Neurologist and board member, the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida.

- About the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida

- Recognized by the State of Florida Department of Health as the principal statewide agency for epilepsy resources and support, the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida provides leadership to seven regional epilepsy service providers ensuring the consistent delivery of programs and services for all Floridians.

- In addition to providing clinical services, counseling programs to individuals and training for health care and education professionals, the Foundation serves as the lead advocate for the rights and needs of people with epilepsy and seizure disorders at the local, county and state level. The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida also provides comprehensive Prevention and Education Services. Services include conducting presentations to educate professionals and the community at large, also, conducts programs like the Head Injury Prevention Program aimed at both raising the use of properly fitted bicycle helmets and significantly increasing knowledge and awareness of bicycle safety in order to reduce the incidence of head injuries among children. For more information visit