Woman raises alarm on Reddit after fiancée has epileptic seizure half a world away

Reddit users have come to the aid of a New Zealand student who had an epileptic seizure while home alone.

Melody Madill, a student in Dunedin, was Skyping her fiancée, Anna Messner, on Tuesday afternoon when she started having a seizure. However, Messner was powerless to help because she was in the US.

“I was terrified,” said Messner. “I had never seen her twitch and flail so violently, or her mouth to froth and her lips turned blue.”

Messner called US emergency number 911 to get help for Madill, but was told they could not assist with overseas medical emergencies.

“I tried to get her to respond or turn her head so she wouldn’t choke. At this point I was screaming, begging her to stay with me,” said Messner, who met Madill online.

Desperate, Messner took to online forum Reddit, appealing for someone in New Zealand to phone for an ambulance.

The headline to her post read: “Mayday need someone to call 111.” A few minutes later she posted: “Help.”

Within 10 minutes, her call for assistance was answered by Christchurch woman Jana Hayes, who called 111 – New Zealand’s emergency number.

After Hayes had phoned an ambulance, she returned to Reddit to report what was happening. She said: “I was a bit skeptical in case this was a joke (Had to give my cell number and name, and I hate lying lol) … I’m glad I did it anyway. PLEASE keep us updated, let us know when she’s out and that’s she’s been given the all-clear.”

Forty-five minutes elapsed between the start of Madill’s seizure and the paramedics arriving at her house. Messner, still on Skype, heard the paramedics knock on Madill’s door.

“When the ambulance got there, I heard the knock on her front door and I yelled for the paramedics that she was in her study, where we often fall asleep on Skype together while snuggling.

“My brother told me to start yelling ‘help’ as that would get their attention even more. She [Madill] finally got up and let them in.”

Madill said she was “very confused” by the incident because the last thing she remembered was talking to her fiancée – and then the paramedics were knocking on her window.

Madill was diagnosed with epilepsy as a child, but has not had a seizure in 10 years.

She said: “I am so proud and grateful for what Anna did, it was very quick thinking on her part.”

Madill said Messner had been in touch with Hayes on Facebook, and she was very relieved that Hayes had “the faith” to lend a hand, and not treat the Reddit post as a hoax.

On Reddit, Hayes is now being referred to as “life saver”.


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