CONCORD, N.H. -- A 6-year-old boy, who called 911 after his mother collapsed from a seizure, will be recognized as a hero today and meet the emergency dispatcher who helped him through the dramatic event last November.
On the morning of Nov. 28, Julie D'Onofrio of Washington was preparing breakfast for her two children, James, now 7, and Cody, 1, who was in a highchair. According to a news release issued by Wanda Bowers, public information officer for the New Hampshire Bureau of Emergency Communications, D'Onofrio has a seizure condition but had been symptom-free for the previous seven years.
"I felt the seizure come on, but I ignored the symptoms," D'Onofrio said. "I had been under some stress and thought that was causing the symptoms."
Suddenly, she collapsed in the pantry of her home. James immediately dialed 911.
Dispatcher Al Davis was on the other end. "It was today in this morning ... it was this morning today," the little boy told him. Davis asked if he had an emergency, and James told him, "My mom fell asleep."
When asked, James was able to give his address, phone number and answer questions so the dispatcher could determine if D'Onofrio was conscious and breathing. Within 90 seconds, Davis had called Hillsborough County dispatch for an ambulance.
Davis stayed on the phone with James, giving him some medical instructions. James tried to turn his mother over onto her back, but couldn't. Davis verified D'Onofrio was breathing. "Tell me every time she takes a breath," he asked the 6-year-old. "Breath, breath, breath," James told him each time his mother inhaled. She was breathing but still unconscious.
"She started shaking and fell down," James told Davis, which helped determined she had a seizure.
Washington police officer John Corrigan arrived at the residence and Davis asked James to look outside. "You should have somebody there; it might be a policeman or somebody form the fire department," he told the child. "It's a police officer," James replied.
Davis told him to open the door and let the officer know he was on the phone with 911. James did and in the background of the 911 call, Corrigan is heard to say, "OK, good job," according to the release.
Corrigan, who is also an EMT, took over the care of the family.
D'Onofrio said she taught James about dialing 9-1-1 in emergencies but credits his school, Washington Elementary, for most of his 911 emergency education.
D'Onofrio is doing well and grateful the seizure happened at home and not while she was driving.
She said James is pretty "matter of fact" about his role in the emergency. He says he likes police and firefighters, but wants to be a truck driver "like his Daddy" when he grows up.
James will be recognized at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the 911 Center, 110 Smokey Bear Blvd. in Concord. The public is invited to the event but space is limited. If you'd like to attend, call Bowers at 271-6911.