23 July 2019
Three brothers from Newcastle have been awarded bravery certificates by the North East Ambulance Service for their actions in helping to get emergency help for their mum after she collapsed at home.
Seven year old twins Charlie Duke and Dylan Duke, and their four year old brother Jayden Douglas, were at home when their mum Lisa Hefferin collapsed at the bottom of the stairs and became unresponsive.
Dylan rang 999 by using his mum’s mobile but it was Charlie that spoke with call handler Vikki Wightman, to ensure the door was unlocked for the ambulance crew to arrive and that he and his brothers stayed safe.
Vikki said, “The call came in and I was alarmed that it was a young boy ringing about his parent. All three of the boys spoke on the phone and gave a clear account as to what had happened, but it was Charlie that gave me clear details of his mum’s condition and what their address was.
“If children know the basic information of what to do during an emergency, it makes it that little bit easier for us to find out exactly what is going on.
“It was a privilege to be able to award Charlie and his brothers for their actions. They were all so brave in getting their mum the help she needed. It’s not every day we get to see the outcome of a patient and as a call handler, being able to meet the person on the other end of the phone, really puts into perspective the work that we do.”
Lisa suffers with low blood pressure and has to take iron tablets. Her blood pressure dropped so low that day that she collapsed and didn’t regain full consciousness until she was in the back of the ambulance, on her way to hospital.
Lisa said, “It was me and the three boys in the house at the time and it was absolutely amazing what they did. Charlie looked after his siblings and called for help for me when I needed it the most. I couldn’t believe it.
“I think every parent should learn from my story and educate their children in what to do during an emergency. I taught them what to do and they got me the help I needed.
“I’m so proud of all of my sons.”
The ambulance crew members that attended to Lisa were paramedics Craig Hurst, Victoria Landale and Daniel Price as well as rapid response paramedic Paul Jackson.
Craig has worked at NEAS for seven years and has been a qualified paramedic for two and a half years. He remembers the job well, “We got a serious life threatening call about a female in cardiac arrest at her home and that one of her children had called 999.
“When we arrived he had unlocked the door for us and we saw Lisa in a semi-conscious state. Thankfully she wasn’t in cardiac arrest. Charlie had found blankets and pillows to make his mother comfortable and stayed by her side the whole time. Whilst we were there he was looking after his brothers and gave us exceptional information about what had happened. As it turned out, she collapsed with low blood pressure.
“He continued to look after his brothers and got them ready for school whilst we were helping Lisa and kept their family dog calm.
“I feel the efforts of this young gentleman and his brothers deserve recognition and I could not go without presenting them a bravery certificate.”
Victoria Landale has worked at NEAS for five years, first beginning as a dispatch officer in in the emergency operations centre. She said, “It’s great to meet Lisa and to see how she is getting on from what happened. It’s also closure for us to hear the outcome of patients that we have treated, which we don’t always get to hear about.
“Many schools now are implementing CPR within their curriculum and I think this case highlights the simple things that young children can do to save their parents or someone else’s life.”
Daniel Price said, “Charlie was a really grounded little boy as he kept reassuring his brothers that mummy was going to be alright. He also got them ready for school, he was really mature for his age.
“We don’t get a thank you very often but when we do it’s really nice to get one. My job is to help people and when someone recognises that, it’s really inspiring for me.”
The Trust is hosting a CPR training day called Restart a Heart Day in October, that encourages schools, organisations and communities to sign up to receive lifesaving skills in CPR.
Over 30,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest out of hospital in the UK every year. Currently, less than one in 10 survive. The earlier a patient can receive CPR and a shock from a defibrillator, the greater their chance of survival. We know that the major difference is widespread training in CPR. Find out more and sign up to Restart a Heart Day: http://bit.ly/2L7UJFF