For the past 27 years Janet Murphy’s nights have been sleepless and full of worry. Always checking in on son Jesse, and keeping an ear out for his seizures so she can get to him as quickly as possible.
Jesse has epilepsy and has had seizures since he was born. Confined to a wheelchair, the seizures have become worse and more frequent.
When Jesse has a seizure, it’s up to parents Janet and Nev to get to him quickly, make sure he is safe and comfortable and administer nasal drop medication to help bring him out of the seizure. It means they can never really rest.
But thankfully, Janet is now closer to having a restful night and some peace of mind thanks to Santos – who generously donated 22 new sensor mats for Flinders Medical Centre patients with epilepsy.
The mats are placed on the mattress and sound an alarm when seizures occur during the night to alert family or friends to go to them.
“I was told by a doctor many years ago that a seizure would one day kill Jesse and ever since, every time he has one I feel like if I don’t react quickly enough then he is going to die,” Janet recently told us.
“One of my concerns is if I go to sleep and Jesse has a seizure and I don’t know about it, then I can’t get to him.
“I’m a light sleeper and I jump out of bed all the time thinking he is having one - but often he’s not.
“I confided in my husband and a close friend about my fears, and at an appointment my husband told the doctor and she arranged for a mat.”
Janet says knowing an alarm will sound when Jesse has a seizure has lifted the burden.
“I’m just so thankful to Santos and Flinders Foundation for giving us this mat - it’s given me so much peace of mind.”
Flinders Medical Centre epilepsy specialist, Dr Joe Frasca, says the mats not only provide reassurance for parents and family members, but importantly help save lives and prevent long-term brain damage.
“When someone has a seizure there’s potential for trauma – they could fall out of the bed and injure themselves, suffocate, have a cardiac problem or if it’s a prolonged seizure then it could cause damage to the brain,” Dr Frasca explains.
“These mats are particularly beneficial because if a family member can recognise they are having a seizure, then they can go to them and give treatment or call for help and that’s very important.”
Flinders Foundation acknowledges the Kaurna people as the traditional custodians of the land on which the Flinders precinct was established. We acknowledge the Kaurna people’s deep and ongoing connection to land, waters and community, and pay our respect to their Elders, past and present.