We describe a case of a young lady with anti-NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor encephalitis, who initially presented with status epilepticus. Her seizures and orofacial dyskinesia were refractory to four anticonvulsants. She received intravenous immunoglobulin and a left ovarian tumour (an associated feature) was resected. However, her outcome was poor because of delayed treatment, autonomic dysfunction and complications of prolonged hospitalisation. This case highlights the importance of an early recognition of this rare but increasingly recognised disease.