'Exceptional' 4-year-old gets help for mother with calm 911 call
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."
- Share Facebook Twitter
Article sent to (required)E-mail
Article sent from (required)E-mail Name
Subject Line (article title)
Message (optional)Success - Article sent Click to close
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.
Contact information ( * required )Name * Company Telephone * E-mail *
Article InformationTitle URL
Message (optional)Success - Reprint request sent Click to close