News

Four year old dials 911 when mom collapses

Amanda Carvalho
Amanda Carvalho's son Matthew, 4, called 911 when his mother fainted and lost consciousness in their New Westminster apartment Dec. 3.
— image credit: GRANT GRANGER/NEWSLEADER

Little Matthew Carvalho has a little trouble with the concept of doing what he's told as he bounces around the apartment.

Fortunately for his mother, Amanda Carvalho, the four-year-old knew exactly what to do when it counted last Monday.

The day before, Carvalho had gone to her parents home for brunch, where she used a chocolate-nut spread past its best-before date in crêpes. She and two other family members got food poisoning, although she was the sickest. Although some of the flu-like symptoms had dissipated by the next day, others persisted.

"I starting to get chills, I was very dizzy, lethargic, dry mouth," said Carvalho, 23.

She knew she needed to get medical help for the food poisoning. Her boyfriend Shelby Jackson was due home from work soon, so she started to get ready for his arrival so he could transport her to the hospital and take care of Matthew.

"I was getting a bag together for us and the next thing I know I'm on the ground," recalled Carvalho.

She collapsed in a hallway between the kitchen and the living room. When she woke up, Matthew was beside her holding their phone. On the other end was the 911 dispatcher. The dazed and confused Carvalho asked, "Who called you." The dispatcher replied, "Your son."

Just a couple of weeks before her fall, Jackson, at the urging of his mother, showed Matthew what to do in case something bad had happened to either of them and he was the only one around. Matthew was a willing pupil because he's had a fascination with police officers, firefighters and paramedics for the past year. Carvalho and Jackson followed up with some reinforcement later, but they weren't sure if Matthew had learned the lesson.

He had.

When his mom hit the floor, Matthew went to the phone, picked it up, hit 911 and send. When the dispatcher came on Matthew kept it simple and clear saying "Mommy is sick. Mommy fell down."

The dispatcher stayed on the phone until three paramedics arrived. Since Carvalho was still ill, Matthew helped out even more by going to the front door of the apartment building to let them in.

"I was really shocked he had called. I was very proud of him," said Carvalho. "It's the fact that we had only taught him a couple of weeks prior. We had given him an example of if mommy falls and hurts her head."

Carvalho was taken to Royal Columbian Hospital where she received Gravol and intravenous fluids overnight while Jackson took Matthew back home and spoiled him as a reward giving him a cookie, feeding him beans and meatballs and let him watch whatever he wanted on the television.

Matthew's story comes on the heels of a seven-year-old Chilliwack boy calling 911 when his grandfather pulled over to the side of the road and began shaking and sweating. Carvalho admits her incident wasn't anywhere near as serious, but Matthew's actions do demonstrate the importance of teaching children what to do in an emergency.

"I'm very proud of him. It makes me feel safe at home, it makes me be able to trust him if something happens to me or my parents because he goes over there quite a lot and my father [has medical issues]," said Carvalho. "It benefits not just myself but everyone around Matthew."

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