We pulled up outside the front door of the house and I had the unmistakable feeling of having been here before. I searched my memory, but as the best description of said memory is 'Swiss Cheese', I couldn't remember why I'd been here before.
We'd been called because an eighteen month old child had been having a fit. Normally these are caused by a high temperature, sometimes by epilepsy. The older sister who opened the door seemed uninterested, so we assumed that the fit had finished.
We were led upstairs to the bedroom where the child was lying on the bed, the mother standing over her. The mother didn't seem too distressed, so my crewmate asked what had happened while I examined the child.
Apparently the child suffered from epilepsy and usually had one seizure a month, she was on various medications for this but they didn't seem to work as well as hoped.
My examination of the child showed her to be breathing, and a bit 'knocked out', which is usual. But there was something alerting my 'something's not quite right' sense. To be honest I was sure if the child was still having a seizure.
Some seizures involve the classic flailing around of the limbs, others are much more subtle sometimes showing up only as flickering eyes.
There was something not quite right about this child, her eyes didn't focus on me, she was holding her body in a strange manner and she wasn't trying to pull off the oxygen mask I'd put over her face.
We asked the mother and she told us that the child was normally like this after a seizure.
So we bundled her up and took her to hospital, my crewmate keeping a close eye on the patient while I drove.
As we got to the hospital and I opened the door to the ambulance my crewmate was standing there with a big grin on her face.
The child still looked neurologically unwell, but the next words out of my crewmate's mouth removed all doubt as to why this was so.
“The mother has just told me that the child is blind, has cerebral palsy, developmental delays and is unable to communicate”.
It was only after our assessment, our treatment, and halfway to hospital that the mother remembered to tell my crewmate this rather pertinent bit of information.
While the child looked rather ill to us, it was apparent that she had made a full recovery to her normal state of being.
Funny how people can forget to tell us about these apparently small bits of information.