Boy's 911 call helps diabetic mom

June 08, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD


When 5-year-old Camden Casey heard his baby brother crying, he knew it was because their diabetic mother couldn't respond to him.

So, the Potomac Heights Elementary School kindergartner, after determining that his mother's blood sugar was low, did exactly what she had told him: He called 911.

Camden's call brought paramedics to his North End home, where they helped his mother, Melissa Casey, regain consciousness. Last month, the Hagerstown Police Department issued to Camden a certificate of honor for his "heroic assistance" to police, who also responded to the Feb. 10 call.


In a recent interview about the award, Camden was modest, or at least shy. He curled up on his living room couch and answered questions with a shrug, a giggle and occasionally an "I don't know." He had his mind on going to a batting cage on his first day of summer break, Melissa Casey said.

"He really doesn't understand that what he did was truly amazing. That was just another day for him," Melissa Casey said of the Feb. 10 call.

Hagerstown Police Department Chief Arthur Smith said he was impressed that a 5-year-old not only knew to call 911 but also was able to provide his address and describe his mother's condition.

"Imagine how frightening it must be for a 5-year-old ... to have the presence of mind to act just as well as an adult would in that state of mind," Smith said. "He was an impressive young man."

Camden said, through acknowledged nods, that he was scared when he heard his baby brother, Carson, crying and discovered his mother couldn't talk to him.

"I slept in your bed 'cause I remember that," Camden told his mom, talking about the night after the incident.

"He knows about my blood sugar ... what happens when it's low," Melissa Casey, 31, said.

A couple of weeks before Camden's 911 call, Melissa Casey had a similar episode, but Camden called his grandparents, who don't live far away, to come help.

"After that, we talked about how it's OK to call 911. I explained that they're going to say fire, ambulance or police. All you have to say is mommy's blood sugar is low," she said.

Melissa Casey said that she was "extremely proud" that Camden followed her instructions.

"He tried to talk to me and I wasn't responding," she said, explaining what Camden had told her. "The next thing I know, I woke up and there were EMTs in my room."

Melissa Casey said Camden also gave the police officer who arrived at the house a phone number to reach her parents, Peggy and Ronnie Hurd. Her mother was a nurse for 30 years. Melissa Casey said she's had diabetes since she was 10 years old.

Patrick Casey, Camden's father, was not home at the time of the call, and Melissa Casey said she told Camden about 911 because it's possible that her blood sugar could drop when her husband is not with her. Patrick Casey said that when he's around, he usually gives Melissa some orange juice to help her.

Rochelle Morrell, executive director of Children's Village of Washington County, said children get training at the center on how to call 911 and other safety training when they are in second grade.

She said the program is designed for second-graders because there are some scary aspects of the training, including the introduction to a burned house. Before knowing Camden's age, she said "what is being presented here is above the learning capability of a 5-year-old."

After learning of Camden's age, she said, "I think it's a wonderful skill that this child has been taught. He's obviously precocious. We're not just born knowing how to dial 911."

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