An expert familiar with the individual and his seizures will be crucial to defend any criminal charges against him. ("Arrest for Seizure-Related Behavior," 2003, http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/answerplace/Legal/criminaljustice/arrest.cfm)
Though human behavior is rarely predictable, and the complications of seizure disorders, adds to this possible confusion the input of medical professionals and family is absolutely crucial with regard to the alleviation of wrongful criminal charges against a person experiencing "criminal" behaviors during seizure episodes.
Today, much more is known about the disease than once was, both socially and medically, creating a greater number of individuals who are aware of what is and is not associated with the seizure behavior. Additionally, anti-seizure medication and greater awareness that has reduced the severity of the social stigma associated with seizure disorders has also created a much better quality of life for people with such afflictions.
"Epilepsy as a public health issue has not been addressed for a long time, despite the fact it affects 1% of the population. And there are plenty of conditions that have a smaller impact that are being addressed," says the foundation's Sandy Finucane, vice president of government affairs. Over the past 10 years, however, the CDC's epilepsy program has grown dramatically. The second national conference on public health and epilepsy -- a followup to the 1997 meeting -- is slated for July. Both the foundation and CDC have stepped up efforts to work with state legislators. The CDC's Patricia Price, coordinator and medical officer of the epilepsy program, says the decision to work with state lawmakers came directly from affiliated programs in the states. "Our working partners felt legislators don't have at their fingertips adequate and accurate material about epilepsy and issues that face people with epilepsy," she says. (Guiden, 2003)
In most cases prevention requires the burden of proof be on the individual who has the seizure disorder, even in an advanced state of a seizure a medical identification wristband or necklace can save countless hours of heartache during wrongful incarceration. Though people experiencing the initial onset of seizure activity will be unable to benefit from identification, the onset of a serious disease associated with a seizure disorder does require medical attention, which could be gained by the intervention of a concerned public.
Changes will surely continue with the additional emphasis upon the diseases associated with seizures. As the effects and the social, legal and psychological as well as the physical issues of seizure disorders continue to be addressed by the public the government and foundations such as the Epilepsy Foundation of America the lives of those affected by this disease will continue to improve and a first step in this process would be one that included a dramatic decrease in the number of wrongful arrests that occur within this population.
"Arrest for Seizure-Related Behavior," 2003,
http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/answerplace/Legal/criminaljustice/arrest.cfm 'Epilepsy: Legal Issues," 2001, http://userpages.umbc.edu/~gbryan1/epilepsy/legal.htm
Mathias, R.G., 1997, "Assisting Clients With Service Animals"
Friendlander, W.J. (2001). The History of Modern Epilepsy: The Beginning, 1865-
1914. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Guiden, M. (2003, May). Shedding Light on Epilepsy: Advocacy Groups Are Pushing to Raise Awareness about Epilepsy and Encourage Legislatures to Make It a More Integral Part of Public Health Programs. State Legislatures, 29, 30+. Retrieved November 15, 2004, from Questia database, http://www.questia.com.