Safe Sitter® grads and sisters Elaine and Tiffany Close are true to their name. They’re so close that they worked together to save a life.
Two weeks after completing a Safe Sitter® class at Beloit Memorial Hospital in Wisconsin, Elaine, 14, and Tiffany, 13, used what they’d learned about staying calm to help their brother, William, 12, through a severe asthma attack while their parents were away. “They keep an eye on each other while we’re at work,” said their mother, Fran. “They handled it calmly and accurately.”
Will, who’s had asthma for the years, always puts his inhaler in his right coat pocket so everyone knows where it is. However, on this particular day, he’d put it in his left coat pocket so his sisters couldn’t find it. “The girls have seen so many of his attacks and know how to give him his medication,” Fran said. “Sometimes he waits too long to use his inhaler though because he doesn’t like the taste.”
When Will’s breathing was getting worse and his sisters couldn’t locate the inhaler, they called 9-1-1 as well as their parents at work. Fran made it home just after the arrival of the EMS. Both girls realized how serious a situation it was.
“I was helping Will to stay calm,” Elaine said. “We were scared because he’d never had an attack like this one before. But Safe Sitter® helped me know what to do and to stay calm.”
Tiffany, who comforted Will while Elaine tried to locate his inhaler, said, “Will was lying on the floor. We knew his breathing was getting a lot worse. I knew not to panic. Elaine finally found the inhaler and he was getting better by the time EMS came.”
Two hours later, Will told his mother he didn’t feel well so he was taken to immediate care. They learned that a virus was responsible for setting off his severe asthma attack.