Reporting Patterns for "Lapses of Consciousness" by California Emergency Physicians

Samuel D Turnipseed, Dana Vierra, Diana DeCarlo, Edward A Panacek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Physician reporting of lapses of consciousness (LOC) to the Department of Motor Vehicles is a controversial topic in medicine. The objective of this study was to describe current LOC reporting practices by emergency physicians (EPs) in a state with mandatory reporting requirements (California). A questionnaire describing 14 different clinical scenarios involving LOC was distributed to a diverse sample of California EPs. Clinical scenarios included new seizure, hypoglycemia, atrial fibrillation/rapid heart rate, cerebrovascular accident, micturation syncope, vasovagal syncope, hepatic encephalopathy, alcohol intoxication, closed head injury, hyperosmolar coma, methamphetamine psychosis, dementia, hyperventilation syndrome, and hypercalcemia. Emergency physicians were asked how often they would report these LOC-related conditions to the state. Simple summary statistics were calculated. The response rate was 207/340 (61%) of the forms distributed. The average number of years in Emergency Medicine practice among respondents was 12 (range 1-35), and 57% were Emergency Medicine trained. Of the 14 scenarios, only one (new-onset seizure) was reported frequently by EPs (89% reported "nearly always" or "most of the time"). The remaining 13 scenarios were rarely reported (mean of 86% for "occasionally" or "never"). Although reporting of LOC, from any cause, is mandatory in California, only new-onset seizures are frequently reported by California EPs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • emergency physicians
  • lapses of consciousness
  • medical impairment
  • seizure
  • syncope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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