When Sunshine Coast radio personality Paula McGrath suffered a serious medical event at her home, her six-year-old son Jem jumped into action, bravely calling 000 for an ambulance to come and help his mum.
When Sunshine Coast radio personality Paula McGrath suffered a serious medical event at her home, her six-year-old son Jem jumped into action, bravely calling 000 for an ambulance to come and help his mum. Patrick Woods

Little hero's phone call saves mum's life

JEM McGrath is his mum's "little hero" after he saved her life with his quick-thinking 000 call.

When 92.7MixFM personality Paula McGrath had a seizure at her Alexandra Headland home last month, her six-year-old son, Jem, jumped into action.

He bravely called 000 for an ambulance to come and help his mum and stayed on the line to help officers.

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"I was having a really bad headache and I said to Jem I was going to have a little lie down to try and take the headache away, and that's all I remember," Ms McGrath said.

"Jem obviously saw that I wasn't breathing ... so Jem rang 000 and told them what was happening."

Jem McGrath leaped into action when he noticed his mum wasn't breathing and quickly called 000.
Jem McGrath leaped into action when he noticed his mum wasn't breathing and quickly called 000. Patrick Woods

Once the ambulance was organised, Jem then raced to get help from nearby.

"He did an extremely good job of calling the ambulance service, providing all the information we needed to enable the paramedics to arrive and help mum," Maroochydore operations centre manager Paul Boyd said.

Ms McGrath said the incident was determined as an epileptic seizure, but she had no sign of epilepsy. Doctors are investigating the cause.

"It was touch and go. It wasn't a good situation," she said.

Jem knew what to do when his mum wouldn't wake up because she'd told him how to call 000, he said.

"My mummy's in really bad pain," he told the ambulance officer.

"She's blowing bubbles out of her mouth and she looks really pale."

Jem told paramedics where he was, how old his mum was and that it had happened before. Based on the information he gave, they arrived within 10 minutes.

"I didn't have to worry any more," he said.

Emergency medical dispatcher Judy Rowell (left) answered Jem's phone call and said he did
Emergency medical dispatcher Judy Rowell (left) answered Jem's phone call and said he did "everything an adult could've done”. Patrick Woods

Today, Jem was awarded a certificate of appreciation and a Queensland Ambulance Service teddy bear for the role he played in saving his mum's life.

"It's really imperative that you teach your children to ring 000," Ms McGrath said.

"I had said to him 'if anything ever happens to me ... to call 000 and then go and get a neighbour for help'.

"If he wasn't home, I really don't know what the outcome would have been.

"I am extremely proud. He's my little hero, in many ways."

Paula McGrath might not be here today if it wasn't for the quick-thinking actions of her six-year-old son.
Paula McGrath might not be here today if it wasn't for the quick-thinking actions of her six-year-old son. Patrick Woods

Mr Boyd said it was important young children knew what to do in case of emergency, and that Jem was a shining example.

He said it was rare children as young as Jem called emergency services, but "when it does happen, it tends to happen very, very well".

"To be taught this from a very young age from home is going to pay dividends if the call needs to be made," he said.

Judy Rowell, the emergency medical dispatcher who answered Jem's call, said he did everything she asked him over the phone to do.

"He rolled his mother onto her side, he went and got help, he did absolutely everything that an adult could have done," she said.

"We couldn't be more proud of him. He deserves this today because he's just an exceptional little boy."

To teach your kids what to do in case of emergency, visit kids.triplezero.gov.au.



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