Skilled Doctors Playing an Important Role

At Saint Vincent Hospital, we’re dedicated to providing comprehensive, compassionate care to those in our community. As part of our ongoing commitment to excellence, our Hospitalist Program plays a critical part in providing you with support in getting the care you need. Hospitalists are doctors whose primary focus is providing general medical care for anyone admitted to our hospital.

What Do Saint Vincent Hospitalists Do?

Hospitalists are responsible for many important tasks, including:


  • Working in partnership with your primary care doctor to coordinate inpatient care
  • Working closely with nurses, ancillary staff and other specialists involved in your care
  • Being familiar with the hospital’s systems for ordering tests, analyzing results and arranging for treatment
  • Being trained to quickly recognize and respond to changes in the patient’s condition
  • Being available at the hospital 24 hours a day, so they can see patients as frequently as their medical conditions require
  • Promptly providing your doctor with a written report of your hospital visit to facilitate any follow-up care you may need


If you do not have a primary care doctor, the Hospitalist team will provide you with a list and arrange your follow-up care.

How Hospitalists Help Primary Care Doctors

Hospitalists practice full-time in the hospital, so they are readily available to help your doctor. When you enter the hospital, a Saint Vincent Hospitalist will immediately begin acting as attending doctor for the length of the hospital stay.

Hospitalists will:


  • Provide prompt admission and treatment
  • Oversee your entire hospital stay to provide quality care
  • Communicate ongoing patient status to your primary care doctor on a timely basis


Daily activities include:


  • Coordinating hospital admissions
  • Arranging diagnostic testing and specialty consultations
  • Explaining findings and discussing recommendations with patients
  • Orchestrating all patient care
  • Providing medical care for patients who need surgical treatment
  • Managing urgent situations that may arise during the hospitalization
  • Reviewing hospital treatment with insurance companies and payers


Career Opportunities

If you’re interested in a career as a Hospitalist at Saint Vincent Hospital, call (508) 363-6849 to learn more.

More Information

Epilepsy vs. Seizures

Epilepsy is characterized by a seizure or a sudden electrical brain disturbance that causes a change of behavior, feelings or movements in a person. An epileptic seizure may cause a person to have convulsions or involuntary muscle spasms that cause the body to shake uncontrollably.

What Is the Difference Between Epilepsy and Seizures?

Seizures can happen without epilepsy, but epilepsy always involves seizures, even if they are not obvious. The major types of epileptic seizures are:

  • Generalized seizures — affect both brain sides
    • Absence seizures (petit mal) - the person suddenly stops and stares into space, seemingly daydreaming. Some people with this condition may make repetitive movements, such as chewing, rhythmic blinking or rapid breathing.
    • Tonic-clonic seizures (grand mal seizures) - usually characterized by convulsions or sudden muscle jerks. A person with this condition may groan or cry out, lose consciousness, fall to the ground and start convulsing.
  • Focal seizures (partial seizures) — happen in just one brain area
    • Simple focal seizures - can cause twitching, strange taste or other changes in sensation.
    • Complex focal seizures - can involve impaired consciousness and automatisms or involuntary, repetitive movements.
    • Secondary generalized seizures - start in one part of the brain and then spread to another part of the brain.

Are All Seizures Considered Epilepsy?

Since not all epileptic attacks involve convulsions, epilepsy can be challenging to diagnose. Some people may suddenly zone out during a seizure, while others may display episodes of behaviors that look like epileptic seizures but are not caused neurologically.

Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) look like epileptic seizures, but they have psychological causes and are not neurological. Video electroencephalogram (EEG) is a reliable method to diagnose PNES. It records the brain’s electrical activity before, during and after a seizure. PNES treatment addresses the underlying psychiatric or psychological disorder that may be causing it.

How Is Epilepsy Diagnosed?

It is recommended that you see a doctor if you suspect that your child is having seizures or is having unexplained attacks. Your child’s pediatrician will ask questions about your child’s medical history. It may help to ask your child’s caretakers to keep an eye out for any symptoms of seizures. If possible, and with consent, it also may help if you have a video of what you believe to be a seizure.

Your child’s pediatrician will refer your child to a neurologist for a complete neurological exam if they believe your child may be experiencing seizures. This neurological exam measures how well your child’s nervous system is functioning. An EEG test may be recommended to look for changes in your child’s brain’s electrical activity that may indicate seizures. Your child may also have to undergo brain imaging scans to look for changes in the brain structure or other abnormalities that may cause seizures.

Can Epilepsy Be Cured?

There are no known cures for epilepsy, but appropriate medications, surgical procedures and other options may relieve pain and manage symptoms. If your child has been diagnosed with epilepsy, your child’s doctor will create a treatment plan that considers their health condition, medical exam results and other factors. Medications are highly effective in controlling the seizures of approximately 70% of patients by reducing the brain cells’ tendency to send confusing and excessive electrical signals.

Treatment options for a patient depend on the seizure type, epilepsy and other factors. Patients with epilepsy resistant to medications are often referred to specialized epilepsy centers to receive further treatment. Do not be afraid to ask questions as it pertains to your child. It helps to be well-informed about the condition and work with your child’s medical team and loved ones to create a care plan that works best for your child.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Epilepsy Foundation
Epilepsy Ontario
National Library of Medicine