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Real-Life Hero Saves Man Having Seizure

doi: 10.1097/01.NNN.0000267351.30873.aa
Department: the Waiting Room


It takes a lot to impress New Yorkers. But when one Harlem man jumped on to the subway tracks to save a film student who fell while having a seizure, they were stunned by his bravery.

Wesley Autrey, a 50-year-old construction worker and Navy veteran, was waiting for the subway on Jan. 2 with his two young daughters, when Cameron Hollopeter, 20, collapsed. Autrey and two women rushed to help Hollopeter, who managed to get up, but then stumbled to the platform edge and fell to the tracks, just as a train approached the station. In a split second, Autrey leapt on to the track and pressed Hollopeter into a one-foot space between the two rails. Five cars roared overhead, passing inches from Autrey's head, before the train stopped. Both men survived.

Not everyone can jump into the subways tracks, but Harvard Medical School neurology professor Steven Schachter, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Epilepsy Society, outlined things you should do when you see someone having a seizure:

  • ▪ Prevent any further injury. If the seizure occurs in the middle of the street, move the person to a different location and move any objects out of the way. But do not forcibly restrain the person.
  • ▪ Don't put anything in the person's mouth. The person can choke or damage his or her teeth.
  • ▪ Don't give the person water, pills, or food until he or she is fully alert again.
  • ▪ Stay with the person until he or she is back to normal or until help arrives.

He also recommends that epilepsy patients talk with their family and friends about what to do when a seizure occurs.

For more tips visit and click on “Seizure First Aid.”

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