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The 911 call to the Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center came from a frightened young boy seeking help for his mother.
Nicolas Rodriguez, 8, had seen his mother have a seizure before, but seeing her shaking and unresponsive prompted him to take action.
He grabbed his mom’s cellphone, knowing 911 was reserved for emergencies. And this surely must qualify, he thought.
He and his frightened younger brother, Bobby Joe Rodriguez, 7, were creating enough commotion that their sister, 15-year-old Kiana Bowen-Rodriguez, who had been sick and asleep in a back bedroom, woke up and also called 911.
Three minutes and 8 seconds later, a Columbus Fire Department truck carrying emergency medical technicians arrived, followed by a Columbus Regional Hospital ambulance.
The Sept. 6 event happened about a block from Smith Elementary School, where Nicolas is a third-grader and Bobby Joe is a first-grader.
They had just returned from school and walked into their Timbercrest Drive house shortly before 3 p.m.
Their mother, Bobbi Bowen-Rodriguez, sat down on the living sofa and recalls nothing else about the afternoon frenzy other than waking up in the emergency department at the hospital.
“I’m pretty astonished that they pulled it all together,” said Bowen-Rodriguez, a stay-at-home mother who lovingly calls her children “my heroes.”
Bowen-Rodriguez has had a number of medical issues in the past few years, including stomach surgery, a double mastectomy in November 2012 because of breast cancer and a handful of seizures.
Her boys have become used to their mother being ill and in the hospital, but seeing her have a seizure is never easy, she said.
“We were really scared,” Nicolas said. “I had to calm Bobby Joe down.”
Nicolas did not want to leave his mother’s side, so he told Bobby Joe to run to a neighbor’s house two doors down to get help while he called 911.
Bobby Joe said he was screaming as he ran to the house of his friend from school, Kody Reynolds. They returned with Kody’s mother, Kassie Reynolds, who kept the young boys outside on the lawn, trying to keep them calm, while the emergency responders assisted Bowen-Rodriguez.
While the mother said her sons had help that day from neighbors and their older sister, she was proud that they knew what to do. Their father was at work at the time.
Nicolas had some experience with this type of situation because he was with his grandmother once when she had a seizure.
One of his first reactions, Nicolas said, was to get an adult to help. He took on the role of big brother and told Bobby Joe to go get help. He then sat with his mother until help arrived.
“I would have never assumed that they knew what to do,” said Bowen-Rodriguez, who hopes other parents use her situation as a learning opportunity.
Nicolas said he temporarily forgot his exact address, but walked outside the front door to see the numbers posted on the house to tell the emergency dispatchers.
Rodriguez-Bowen said it’s good for parents to teach their young children their address and phone number, when they should call 911 and what they should do if someone in the family has a medical emergency, particularly if that person is unable to speak.
The boys also were proud of themselves for having helped their mother, but they also were frightened for her.
Nicolas said he just didn’t want anything to happen to her.
Bowen-Rodriguez, who wears a cross around her neck, holds and rubs the cross each day. She also hugs her boys each day.
Ed Reuter, director of the Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center, said the boys and their older sister are all to be commended for taking quick action.
Too often, he said, adults wait to call 911 while they analyze a situation when every second counts in a medical emergency.
“What impressed me was the fact that the children, regardless of their age, called 911 without hesitation,” Reuter said.
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