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LISTEN: Calm Colby, his mummy's superhero

LISTEN: Calm Colby, his mummy's superhero

Friday 20 January 2023

LISTEN: Calm Colby, his mummy's superhero

Friday 20 January 2023

Five-year-old Colby Bridgman has been described as a superhero after calling 999 to get help when his mum collapsed at home after suffering a sudden hemiplegic migraine.

Now six, the little boy has been given a certificate of commendation by the Chief Ambulance Officer - who also gave the 999 call handler an award and praised the response crew who took Colby's mum to hospital.

Jess Payne had been suffering from a headache but had never suffered a hemiplegic migraine before so it was a completely unexpected situation.

Colby dialled 999 and spoke to call handler Liz Arklie who took him through the emergency response questions which established that his mum was lying on the floor with her eyes closed and wasn't breathing properly.

It became apparent that Colby was home alone so Ms Arklie, having already dispatched an ambulance, asked him to go and get a neighbour and then he was allowed to get himself a chocolate from his treat cupboard while paramedics treated his mum.

Miss Arklie said it is unusual to receive genuine emergency calls from such a young child.

"We do get children playing with mobile phones and accidentally dialling 999 and you can hear in the background it's a child. But it is unusual for somebody that young to genuinely put in a call when they really need help.

"He was amazing, so calm, he didn't get upset, he didn't panic, he was just really good and gave really clear information. 

Yesterday Colby and his mum and nanny met Liz for the first time. They were also reunited with the ambulance crew who had taken Miss Payne to hospital.

She ended up needing ten days of treatment and is still suffering side effects linked to her initial collapse.

"All I remember is waking up and the ambulance was there," Miss Payne said. "I'm really proud of him. When I woke up I was quite surprised to see an ambulance there. From what I've been told he was really amazing. Really brave.

"When I got out of hospital and we were at home he kept asking if we could stay at nanny's so I think he was worried something was going to happen to me again, but he's been ok since."

Colby ambulance

Pictured: Chief Ambulance Officer Mark Mapp, Colby's nanny, Colby, his mum Jess Payne, and Liz Arklie. 

The ambulance crew - Jennifer and Nic - also praised Colby, saying he was very calm.

"He was very calm on the scene, very grow up. He's an absolute credit to his mum," said Nic. 

Jennifer added: "This is the first time we've seen both mum and Colby since the incident. It's not often we find out what happens after we drop them to the hospital and go to the next patient."

The paramedics were praised by Chief Officer of the St John Ambulance Service Mark Mapp in an informal ceremony yesterday where Colby and Miss Arklie were given their commendations.

Mr Mapp said Colby proved the importance of knowing what to do in an emergency.

“Knowing what to do in an emergency is a life skill and that is why as the ambulance service, and as part of St John, we teach people of all ages what to do in a medical emergency and how to give life-saving first aid.

Colby ambulance mark mapp

Pictured: Chief Ambulance Officer Mark Mapp speaking with Colby Bridgman. Colby is sitting between his mum and nanny.

"One of the most important things is recognising that someone is unwell and calling 999 for help. And that is exactly what Colby did when his mum experienced a medical emergency. Because his family had spoken to him about how to call an ambulance and how to call 999 – Colby knew exactly what to do.

During the call, Colby remained calm and answered all the questions he was asked, which ensured an emergency ambulance was quickly dispatched to the house so his mum could get the care and treatment she needed.”

Colby was also given a toy ambulance, some of his favourite sweet treats and he was allowed to play in an ambulance as part of his reward for his bravery yesterday. 

His mum said maybe one day he might take it up as a career.

"He does ask me questions, 'mummy is the ambulance people coming to see us again'. When he was little he used to say he wanted to be an ambulance man or a fireman so those two things, he's always said that, so maybe."


PODCAST: Colby the superhero



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