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updated: 9/27/2012 12:08 PM

'Exceptional' 4-year-old gets help for mother with calm 911 call

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  • Diana Jensen and her daughter, Livia, 4, meet with Aurora 911 dispatcher Jill Schmidt three days after Schmidt answered Livia's 911 call and dispatched medical help to their home for Jensen, who has Lupus and was dealing with intense pain.

       Diana Jensen and her daughter, Livia, 4, meet with Aurora 911 dispatcher Jill Schmidt three days after Schmidt answered Livia's 911 call and dispatched medical help to their home for Jensen, who has Lupus and was dealing with intense pain.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Livia Jensen, 4, meets Aurora 911 operator Jill Schmidt on Wednesday outside Livia's home. Livia called 911 Sunday when her mother, 41-year-old Diana Jensen, suddenly felt intense pain and couldn't speak.

       Livia Jensen, 4, meets Aurora 911 operator Jill Schmidt on Wednesday outside Livia's home. Livia called 911 Sunday when her mother, 41-year-old Diana Jensen, suddenly felt intense pain and couldn't speak.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Diana Jensen of Aurora hugs her daughter, Livia, 4, Wednesday before the two met the Aurora 911 operator who responded to Livia's call and dispatched assistance to their home. Livia called 911 because Jensen, who has Lupus, suddenly felt intense pain and was unable to speak.

       Diana Jensen of Aurora hugs her daughter, Livia, 4, Wednesday before the two met the Aurora 911 operator who responded to Livia's call and dispatched assistance to their home. Livia called 911 because Jensen, who has Lupus, suddenly felt intense pain and was unable to speak.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Livia Jensen, 4, gets a piggyback ride from her mother's friend, Dorothy Anderson of Naperville, whom Livia calls "Grandma." Livia helped get medical care for her mother, Diana Jensen, by calling 911 Sunday when family friends like Anderson were not available.

       Livia Jensen, 4, gets a piggyback ride from her mother's friend, Dorothy Anderson of Naperville, whom Livia calls "Grandma." Livia helped get medical care for her mother, Diana Jensen, by calling 911 Sunday when family friends like Anderson were not available.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Diana Jensen and her daughter Livia, 4, cuddle on the couch where Jensen, who has Lupus, suddenly felt intense pain on Sunday. Livia helped her mother by calling 911 and calmly explaining the situation.

       Diana Jensen and her daughter Livia, 4, cuddle on the couch where Jensen, who has Lupus, suddenly felt intense pain on Sunday. Livia helped her mother by calling 911 and calmly explaining the situation.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Livia Jensen, 4, remained calm during a 911 call Sunday as she explained she needed help for her mother, 41-year-old Diana Jensen, who was rendered unable to speak by sudden, intense pain.Bev Horne/bhorne@ dailyherald.com

      Livia Jensen, 4, remained calm during a 911 call Sunday as she explained she needed help for her mother, 41-year-old Diana Jensen, who was rendered unable to speak by sudden, intense pain.Bev Horne/bhorne@ dailyherald.com

  • Video: Four year old saves mom

 
 

A bulletin board in Livia Jensen's Aurora home lists dozens of her best traits.

"I am CONFIDENT." "I am a GOOD HELPER." "I am CARING." "I like to make my Mommy proud."

In a 911 call Livia placed Sunday when her mother needed help, the 4-year-old displayed all those traits and a sense of calm beyond her years, says the veteran operator who took the call.

Jill Schmidt, who has 24 years experience as an Aurora telecommunications operator, met Livia and her mother, 41-year-old Diana Jensen, Wednesday afternoon at the park across from their home.

"She's exceptional," Schmidt said about Livia during the meeting, the first time Schmidt has met anyone for whom she dispatched emergency assistance. "She told me what I needed to know to send the proper help and she followed instructions to the letter."

Livia called 911 about 4 p.m. Sept. 23 when her mother was rendered unable to speak by sudden, intense pain.

"I have lupus and it was a bad pain day and Livia knows what that means," Jensen said.

On Sunday, it meant Livia playing inside -- drawing with chalk on a tarp on the living room floor -- instead of going outside to the park.

Jensen said she was sitting on the couch near her daughter and, when she tried to stand up, she felt pain in her head and back, as if someone had struck her with a board. She went to her knees, then stretched out on the floor.

"I tried to talk to Livia and I couldn't get words out," Jensen said. "I don't think I've ever been in so much pain I couldn't speak before."

Livia has called her mother's friends and family other times when Jensen has needed help. But the girl ran through her list of phone numbers, identified by photos of the people they call, but got no answer.

She then dialed the number next to the picture of a police car and ambulance: 911.

"I didn't tell her what to do, she just did it," said Jensen, whose daughter can't yet read. "911 was actually her third call. She knew to take those steps."

On the phone with 911 operator Schmidt, Livia kept her composure and answered Schmidt's sometimes repetitive questions about her mother's conditions, starting most answers with "Well," while she paused to think.

"Um, we need you to come over to our house because my mommy can't speak," Livia said after Schmidt picked up.

"Is she breathing? Is her chest going up and down?" Schmidt asked early in the call.

"Well, she is breathing," Livia said before answering more questions about her mother's condition and telling Schmidt which door was open for emergency responders.

"I knew if she (Jensen) wasn't able to speak, something serious was wrong," said Schmidt, who took the call during the second half of a 16-hour shift.

When paramedics arrived, they took Jensen to Rush-Copley Medical Center a few blocks from her house, where she recovered enough after emergency room treatment to return home.

Meeting Schmidt a few days later, Jensen said she knew the woman who helped get her the care she needed understood the severity of the situation.

"You get it. I can see it in your eyes and you get it," Jensen said to Schmidt.

Schmidt said she was moved by her first experience meeting the caller and patient on the other end of a 911 call.

"When it's a small child, it becomes very personal to every dispatcher," Schmidt said. "It reminds me of why I do the job."

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