New epilepsy monitoring unit designed to find answers

Nov 30 • 2016

For mothers like Connie Prudhomme, Baptist’s August 2016 opening of the new Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) changed her family’s world. Prior to that time, treatment options in the Mid-South were non-existent for her epileptic adult son, Michael.

“We had to travel to Nashville because there is nothing like this center around here. That means time off work and travel expenses.”

Thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the Baptist Foundation, Dr. Pawan Rawal and his team of specialists can now monitor and treat patients with epilepsy—locally. In the four-bed unit located at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis, Dr. Rawal’s specialized care aims at discovering what’s behind a patient’s seizure. Epilepsy, a neurological condition, requires continuous management. The unit team consists of a fellowship trained epileptologist (neurologist specially trained in epilepsy), trained nurses, technologists, pharmacists, and specialists in neurosurgery, neuropsychology, neuroradiology and psychiatry. This same team monitors patients 24/7 through video and EEG.

Patients follow a specific protocol upon arrival and stay in private rooms with beds designed to keep patients safe. Ironically, the team hopes a patient experiences a seizure while on site so that the data can help diagnose the type of epilepsy which in turn, will lead to an individualized treatment plan.

“We evaluate them while being monitoring to determine which part of the brain is causing the seizure. One third of patients don’t benefit from any medicine,” said Rawal.

Patients must be 18 years or older, and the average length of stay is five days.

For more information or to make a referral, please call 901-226-4910.

Epilepsy affects 1% of the population and currently affects 2.4 million adults. Currently, 33% of people with Epilepsy live with uncontrollable seizures because their current treatment is ineffective.