Brain surgery cures local man’s epilepsy
Gretchen Burns | Collegio Reporter
David Engledow, 61, has died twice … and lived to tell about it.
Engledow says he fell out of a two-story window when he was 4 and acquired epilepsy.
He lost his driver’s license when he was 31 and has been refused a job because of the disorder.
Epilepsy is defined as “a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain.”
“People consider epilepsy as a form of retardation,” said Engledow, Pittsburg resident. “It’s not contagious, and it’s not an illness.”
According to Engledow, epilepsy is 95 times more common than muscular dystrophy.
Engledow says he hopes to educate Pittsburg State students and the community about epilepsy so that those with the disorder no longer face discrimination.
He is currently educating PSU police officers on how to handle students who experience epileptic seizures, and he hopes to do the same for students.
“It would be great for students at the university to know what to do,” Engledow said. “It could happen at any time and the knowledge of epilepsy would benefit them a lot.”
Engledow says a student who witnesses someone having an epileptic seizure should get them to the floor and lay them on their side. The head of the person must be supported, and any objects that could be kicked should be moved out of the way immediately.
He says seizures can last a few seconds or a few minutes. If the episode lasts longer than five minutes, he advises students to call 911. Emergency calls and costs for ambulances can surpass $1,000, and he says money can be saved if a person knows what to do.
Engledow died from an epileptic seizure but was revived. During the helicopter ride to KU Medical Center, he died again, and was revived once more. His doctor informed him of a special procedure that had not been tried but could possibly help him. Engledow agreed to be the guinea pig for the surgery.
The doctors cut through the back of his head into the left side of his brain so they could remove roughly three millimeters of his brain. Engledow says he has not had any seizures since the piece was removed.
According to Engledow, most people who are diagnosed with epilepsy are afraid to admit it for fear of losing their jobs, being kicked out of school and other reasons.
“I want people with epilepsy to know that they are not alone and there are people who care,” Engledow said.
Engledow is part of a Southeast Kansas support group that meets the third Monday of every month. The group can be contacted at email@example.com.