Nightmares Case 3: Seizure

The resident is called to the ward to manage a patient who may have had a seizure. The patient is somnolent when the resident arrives. Shortly afterward, the patient seizes again. Two doses of anti-epileptic will be required to terminate the seizure. Finally, when the patient has been stabilized, the resident will be required to discuss the case with their staff on call.

Non-Accidental Trauma

The team has been called to help in the ED after a 1 month-old male is brought in seizing. The team is expected to manage the seizure, but then will subsequently realize on examination there are concerning signs for non-accidental trauma, specifically head injury. The team will be expected to establish definitive airway management and consult with PICU and local child protection services.

Newborn Sepsis with Apneas

A 3-day-old term male infant is brought to the ED by EMS after being seen at their Family Physician’s office with a low temperature (33.1oC). The child has been feeding poorly for about 12 hours, and has vomited twice. He is lethargic on examination and poorly perfused with intermittent apneas lasting ~ 20 seconds. He requires immediate fluid resuscitation and broad-spectrum antibiotics. His perfusion will improve after IVF boluses, however the apneas will persist and necessitate intubation.

Pediatric Septic Shock

A 4 year-old girl is brought to the ED because she is “not herself.” She has had 3 days of fever and cough and is previously healthy. She looks toxic on arrival with delayed capillary refill, a glazed stare, tachypnea and tachycardia. The team will be unable to obtain IV access and will need to insert an IO. Once they have access, they will need to resuscitate by pushing fluids. If they do not, the patient’s BP will drop. If a cap sugar is not checked, the patient will seize. The patient will remain listless after fluid resuscitation and will require intubation.

Coarctation of the Aorta

A 2-week-old neonate presents in shock requiring the learner to implement an initial broad work-up. The patient will also be hypoglycemic, and will seize if this is not promptly recognized. Physical exam and CXR findings will suggest coarctation of the aorta as the likely cause, and the learner should recognize the need for gentle fluid boluses and a prostaglandin infusion. Unless learners anticipate appropriately and intubate the patient prior to beginning the prostaglandins, the infant will become apneic after starting the infusion and require intubation.

Hyponatremic Seizure

A 93 year old woman comes in with family. They are concerned about general weakness, worsening PO intake over the last few months, and new confusion. As the team takes a history and starts the initial workup, the patient will begin to seize. She will seize continuously until hypertonic saline or a paralytic is given. After two doses of benzodiazepine, a critical result showing severe hyponatremia will come back. The team is expected to administer hypertonic saline, which will stop the seizure. The patient will remain somnolent after this dosing, and as the team prepares to intubate, she will seize again, requiring a repeated dose of hypertonic saline.

Eclampsia with Apnea Secondary to Magnesium Sulfate Administration

A 30 year-old female, G1P0 at 32 weeks, presents to the ED with headache, blurred vision, nausea, and vomiting. Her arrival BP is 175/115. As the team coordinates her initial workup, the patient will begin to seize. She will not stop seizing until magnesium sulfate is given. The patient will then require intubation for respiratory depression. The patient will also remain hypertensive, requiring administration of an appropriate antihypertensive agent. The case will end post intubation when the patient has been referred to OB.