Traveler Suffers Seizure on Plane

May 18, 2015

in Illness/Medical Stories

At the age of 19, I was hit head-on after a drunk driver veered over the center line and into my lane. Fortunately, my injuries were much less severe than they could have been, but I did sustain a head injury and developed a seizure disorder as a result. After that, I avoided flying for a few years out of fear of having a seizure on an airplane.

One day I received a call and was informed my mom had suffered a medical emergency that left me with no other choice but flying. I called my doctor to ask his opinion about flying and he cleared me to fly. It was then that my nightmare became reality.

I went to the airport and was put on standby for the next available flight by an incredibly kind and helpful ticket agent and was surprised to actually make the flight. I was taking an anti-convulsant that controlled my seizures fairly well, so I took my medication, along with a sedative, and hoped for the best.

About an hour after take-off, I started experiencing the warning signs of an impending seizure. I quickly informed the flight attendant and took another sedative to try to prevent a seizure from occurring. I explained to the flight attendant that I had a history of seizures and only needed emergency medical attention if the seizure lasted longer than 5 minutes or if I had multiple seizures without regaining consciousness. I was laying on my side on the floor wishing that I could just disappear as other passengers stared at me and whispered about me to each other.

Needless to say, luck was not on my side and the pilot had to make an emergency landing. This was about a year ago and I still feel guilty about the conflict it caused other passengers.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Glenn May 18, 2015 at 11:59 pm

As a 30+ year flight attendant it sounds like you did everything right. Sometimes these things happen. I’m glad you were able to communicate your issue with the crew and the situation was properly handled.


Jeanie May 19, 2015 at 11:35 am

That's terrible, but I'm glad that you got through it okay. Sometimes these things do happen.


Jodi May 22, 2015 at 11:44 am

Ya know what? I would be more upset on a flight that someone was having an medical emergency simply because I do not like to see people hurt or ill than I would about the actual delay. I want everyone happy and healthy. So don't worry about it. It may have inconvenienced them, but hopefully most just prayed for your speedy recovery. I'm glad you're okay.


Sarah May 27, 2015 at 5:49 pm

No worries. I'm sure you felt bad but things happen. It's unfortunate that the world isn't a kindler gentler place these days. In the end, the people on your flight made it to their destinations — the world did not come to an end!! Hang in there — and hope your mom is doing well.


Elise January 19, 2018 at 10:38 pm

We’ve been on a flight that was diverted due to someone having two seizures and it did not bother us one bit. We were very happy to land so the person could get the help they needed by which point they were able to walk off the plane. Please don’t feel bad for a second there would be very few people who would be bothered!


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