|Young hero receives award today - Danvers Herald
||[Mar. 18th, 2004|07:17 pm]
By Christopher Moore / Cmoore@Cnc.Com |
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Girl's quick thinking saves mother's life
When her mother needed life-saving medical attention in December, Molly Cushman reacted calmly and decisively, recalling lessons learned years ago. Today, March 18, she is receiving an award for her independence and quick thinking, which promises to make for a very special 10th birthday.
Just over three months ago, when Molly was 9, her mother, Traci Cushman, had a hypoglycemic or low blood sugar reaction brought on by her diabetes. With Traci unresponsive and in dire need of care, Molly quickly went through a series of steps she knew might help her mother's condition, ultimately calling 911 when all else failed. Had Molly panicked and lost control of the situation at any point prior to that call, Traci might not be alive today.
Molly awoke around 7:30 a.m. on Dec. 12 to the sound of her then 9-month-old sister Alexandra crying in the other room. Knowing that her mother is usually up and active by 7 a.m., Molly immediately became concerned.
"I kind of knew there must be something wrong, because (Alexandra) doesn't usually cry for that long," said Molly. "I got up, I went over to her crib, and said 'It will be OK, I'll be right back.'"
Molly then went to check on her mother, who was awake in her bed but not answering any of Molly's questions. In turns she brought her mother orange juice, her blood glucose tester, and some glucose tablets, but Traci did not seem to know what to do with any of them.
"I said 'if she's not going to do anything, I have to get some help,'" said Molly. "I was pretty nervous, because it was the first time for myself being alone. I called 911 and they said to check her breathing. Then they arrived and they helped her right away. After that I was really calm and I knew she'd be OK."
Molly was still on the phone with the 911 dispatcher when help arrived.
"She opened the door for the firefighters when they arrived," said Lt. David DeLuca of the fire department. "She did a great job. The guys that responded, they were totally impressed by how she handled the situation."
DeLuca heads up the S.A.F.E. (Student Awareness of Fire Education) program that taught Molly's class about fire safety and dialing 911 when she was in first grade. At 1:30 p.m. today at the Thorpe School, DeLuca will present Molly with the Young Hero's Award for her cool decision-making under pressure. A representative from the fire marshal's office will be at the ceremony to present Molly with a congratulatory plaque.
DeLuca said two other such plaques have been given out in the program's seven-year history. The first was to Kristen and Ashley Moulton in June 2002, who called 911 after their mother fell and broke her leg. The second was in May 2003, after Ethan Smith dialed the number when his father had a diabetic reaction.
Traci Cushman said that, because of her condition, she and her husband have reiterated the procedures for handling emergencies with Molly. Traci also said Molly undoubtedly learned from witnessing her mother experience a hypoglycemic reaction a couple of times while pregnant with Alexandra.
"I usually watch my dad when this happened in the past, so I tried to remember what he tried to do," said Molly.
Though she was unresponsive at the time, Traci Cushman said she was able to hear Molly make the 911 call.
"She just said 'My mom's diabetic and I can't wake her up,'" said Traci Cushman. "Her sister's screaming in the background because she's hungry. (Molly) was very calm and kept her head. Most kids, in a situation like that you hope they remember their address. I don't know if I could do it. It's pretty amazing."
Traci said that after the incident she was concerned about outside reaction, afraid that people would hear the story and think she was a bad mother because it happened. But as for the young hero herself, she's just glad to still have her mother around.
"I remember mostly how, when she realized what had happened, how proud she was," said Molly of her mother. "I remember that most. It has taught me to be a lot more careful, make sure I watch my mom a lot to make sure she's OK, especially when we're alone. If she does something weird or not like her, I always ask her if she's OK. And she always is."