Jillian Given, 5, dials 911 to save diabetic mom
Five-year-old Jillian Given wasn't rattled.
In what authorities describe as "calm and collected" fashion, the Ronkonkoma girl made a 911 call last week that officials say saved her mother's life.
"My mom is diabetic and she is in a room and, um, . . . my mom is like passed out," she says during the 5-minute, 15-second emergency call that came in about 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 16.
"I'm 5 years old, and I tried to call my daddy, but it didn't work," she says.
Following the dispatcher's directions, Jillian says her mother is breathing, but not awake.
In the next five minutes, she struggles with locked doors, but manages to let out three golden retrievers and let in the police.
"She's a very brave young girl," said John Martins, assistant chief of the Nesconset Fire Department, who aided the duo. "I've never been on a scene with a 5-year-old that was as well-versed and as calm as she was. Most adults haven't been that cool, calm and collected."
Jillian, along with her mother, Elisabeth Given, and family gathered Wednesday at the Nesconset firehouse and thanked officials who responded to the child's call.
Elisabeth Given, who has the more severe type 1 diabetes, teared up Wednesday about what might have happened had Jillian not made the call. "I would have not been here. . . . She's my hero," Given said. "I think about it every day, and I cry every day. I can't believe she did it. . . . She saved my life."
Given, a registered nurse and diabetes educator, said she had coached Jillian in recent months on emergencies. "I basically just said, 'If you're home with Mommy by yourself and she never can answer or talk to you, you have to call 911,' " Given said.
The mother and daughter were housesitting for Given's parents in Nesconset when she fell ill, Given said. Jillian said she tried to talk with her mother, but became nervous when Given didn't wake up.
Martins said authorities found Given on a bedroom floor. Rescuers gave her glucose intravenously, he said.
Matt O'Reilly, an emergency medical technician at the scene, said knowing Given was a diabetic was critical. "If [Jillian] did not call 911 at that time, by the time somebody found her, she probably would have been in cardiac arrest," he said.
Given said she went to Stony Brook University Hospital about an hour after the glucose was administered and learned she had hit her head when she fell from the bed. The wound required a few staples.Elisabeth's mother, Pam Siebel, said she thanked Jillian for her fast action, to which Jillian responded, "I didn't want my mommy to die," Siebel said. "She knew the potential that was there. . . . I'm so proud of her."
Though family members and authorities have touted Jillian's quick thinking, Given said her daughter has remained humble. "She says she's not a hero," said Given. "She's just Jillian."Jillian will receive an award Friday at her school, Cherokee Street Elementary School in Ronkonkoma, which she said makes her feel "good."