New epilepsy monitoring unit giving patients at Madera hospital more freedom

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For 20-year-old Reed Brown, seizures are a daily occurrence.

"I can't do anything like drive," Brown said. "I can't work because I'm a liability to anyone that would hire me."

Despite the limitations epilepsy imposes on Reed, he's still a kid with hopes for the future, with one that includes starting Carro Coso Community College in the fall.

"My future's going to start when these seizures go away, and that's what I hope for," Brown said.

Reed's first seizure was 11 years ago, and after all that time, he is still not sure what triggers them.

The team at Valley Children's is currently monitoring his brain activity to get him that answer. Soon, it will be easier for patients to undergo inpatient testing with the new Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.

These cameras strategically placed throughout the unit mean patients, like Reed, won't be confined to their room; in fact, they'll be able to walk the halls to the day room.

"If you should have a seizure during your walk, I can still see you," says Dr. Cesar Santos, the Medical Director of Neurology.

Allowing patients more freedom to roam and meet families in similar situations, all while ensuring no data is lost.

Santos says 25 percent of epilepsy patients are children, and 13,000 of them are in the central valley.

While some can be treated with medication, others have lifelong seizures.

"What if we can make you seizure-free with surgery," Santos said.

In order to do the surgery, patients need to be monitored to determine where the seizures are happening.

The new unit includes six rooms, nine portable machines, and a play area.

Patients can still feel like kids while getting the only level 4 epilepsy center care available in Central California.
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