Bravery award for 9-year-old caller

“He’s my little hero and I’m very proud of him”

When you go to sleep, you don’t expect to see paramedics at the end of your bed when you wake – but that’s what happened to Kelly Lister earlier this year thanks to the actions of her son Callum.

Diabetic Kelly, had suffered a hypo during the night and when nine-year-old Callum was unable to wake her, he called 999.

Because of Callum’s quick actions, community paramedic Richard York, who was first to arrive at their Bishop Auckland home, has nominated Callum for a bravery award and today he presented Callum with his certificate.

Richard said: “Callum acted quickly and made some very clever decisions about how he could help his mam. His actions prevented the situation from becoming more serious than it already was.

“When I arrived Callum quickly took me to his mam, providing relevant information while walking. Upon entering the room, I could see that she was unconscious, had been moved into a modified recovery position and there was also food and drink as Callum had tried to treat her himself.

“It's a pleasure to meet his mam and tell her in person how impressed I was with how he handled it all with such maturity. Well done Callum!".

Talking about calling 999, Callum said: “The orange juice I gave my mam didn't help her and she still couldn't talk so I knew I had to phone for an ambulance. I got her mobile phone and called 999. Jill asked me lots of questions and said an ambulance was coming.

“I was way calmer when the ambulance came because I knew they were going to help my mam.

“I was excited about seeing the ambulance people again, they were really nice when they came to help my mam and they were just as nice when I saw them today, they all gave me high fives! We were so lucky to have such good people to look after us.” 

Kelly, 34, said: “When I saw the paramedics, I thought it was a dream, so I tried to go back to sleep. I was confused and disorientated, so couldn’t understand why they were here.

“Callum’s my little hero, I’m very proud of him.”

Paramedic Sophie Wood and clinical care assistant Katie-Jane Dowson were the crew who backed up Richard. Kelly was treated and left safely at home to recover.

Health advisor Jill Doran, who has worked for NEAS for 15 years answered the 999 call and was able to give Callum instructions for treating Kelly before the crews arrived. She said: “This was the first patient reunion I have taken part in and it was a pleasure to meet Callum and his Mum, Kelly.

“When I asked how old he was and Callum told me he was just nine, I was quite taken aback. He answered everything I asked of him, did what I asked of him and was so calm.”

After a diabetic episode a few years ago, Kelly taught Callum what to do if she became ill – including how to give her a sugary drink, how to call 999 and their address.

Kelly said: “Diabetes is so unpredictable, and I’d encourage other parents to do the same so their children know what to do in an emergency.”

Jill added: “It was great that Callum knew the answers to the questions I was asking him. It's so important to teach your children about how and when to call 999. Explain to them that they will be asked things like, can you wake Mummy/Daddy up?

“We need to know what is going on and will try to make the questions more child friendly. Make sure they know their address and try to explain to them it’s important to listen carefully and answer as best they can.”

More information and support about diabetes can be found on the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/diabetes/

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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