How do you spell EEG?

April 24, 2011 at 7:45 pm (Uncategorized)

Sometime in the late ‘eighties while I had administrative responsibility for the clinic at Buckeye Youth Center, I was notified by one of my staff that we needed to purchase a new battery for the EEG machine.

At that time (and for many years previously), it was customary to order an electroencephalograph of many a delinquent youth who passed through our doors. This was a recording of electrical activity along the scalp resulting from the firing of neurons in the brain. Irregular EEGs were associated with epilepsy, tumors, and other neurological problems.

The EEG machine was located in a standard examination room, except for the fact that there was copper screen covering the windows, light fixtures, and other possible sources of stray electrical transmissions. The machine itself had an array of dials, meters, and switches. The battery was located in a cabinet beneath it.

The “subject” of an EEG examination would have electrodes fastened to his or her head with a conductive paste or gel. Then over the course of thirty minutes or so, all of his/her “brain waves” would be recorded on a scrolling piece of paper with a stylist (much like an old-fashioned seismograph). A doctor would read the report, determine whether it was normal or abnormal, and place it in the youth’s file.

The purpose of the battery, I believe, was to amplify the electrical signals since they otherwise would be far too weak to detect. So I did not hesitate to instruct my staff member to contact the manufacturer of the machine about obtaining a new one. What I did not expect was a faxed letter back from them almost immediately, notifying us that 1) the device had been recalled sometime in the late ‘sixties, 2) it had a serious electrical problem, and 3) we were lucky we hadn’t injured anyone over the intervening years.

When I brought this issue to the attention of our central office, they made the decision to forego any further EEG examinations rather than purchasing a new machine. To be honest, I can’t remember ever making use of any of the thousands of EEG tests that were administered over the years. I suspect they were done more out of habit than anything else.

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3 Comments

  1. patti mann said,

    REGARDING THE EEG TESTING’S
    I WAS ONE OF MANY THAT HAD TO HAVE A EEG WHILE AT JDC IN COLUMBUS, OHIO. I REMEMBER THE STATE HOSPITAL NEXT DOOR TO THE JDC, AND ALWAYS WONDERED WHAT IT WAS LIKE INSIDE ‘THERE’. I GOT TO SEE FOR MYSELF, WHEN I REFUSED A SECOND EEG AND FOUGHT THE PERSON TRYING TO FORCE ME TO HAVE IT. I LANDED IN THE OSH…..HOW NICE OF THE STATE OF OHIO TO HAVE PUT A LOT OF US THEN ‘KIDS’ THROUGH THESE HORRIBLE TESTS, AND WE HAD NO RIGHTS, NO SAY IN WHAT WE WOULD DO OR NOT DO. THE ONLY THING I LEARNED FROM JDC, AND SCIOTO VILLAGE….’ ADULTS IN CHARGE CAN HURT CHILDREN AND GET AWAY WITH IT’! THESE PLACES LEFT ME WITH SCARS DEEP IN MY SOUL. FOR A KID LIKE MYSELF WHO ALREADY HAD A SEVERE HEAD TRAUMA…..WELL…..I HAVE ALWAYS PRAYED THERE IS A HELL, CAUSE THAT IS WHERE I THINK ALL THE ONES WHO DID HURT US GOES THERE SOMEDAY!

  2. shelly stonestreet said,

    I HAD THEM OFTEN I HAD EPILEPSY AND THEY MADE ME TAKE MEDS. THAT MADE ME REALLY SICK SHAME SHAME MY SCARS ARE SO DEEP YOU CAN NOT MISS THEM I WAS ABOUT 12 YEARS OLD AND I WILL NEVER BE OK 42 YEARS OLD NOW

  3. Mike said,

    They fuck me up too i live in tico tcy n scioto they did do some crazy things to us with meds n tests n abuse from staff Fuck them

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