A Birches mother whose 11-month-old son took a febrile seizure while she was driving has paid tribute to the life-saving response of a retired midwife who came to their aid.
Jemma Davison was on her way home with son Alex in his car seat when he suddenly became unresponsive.
The mother-of-one stopped her car on the Birches Road and lifted out the toddler - who by this point was limp and frothing at the mouth.
And in what Jemma describes as a “godsend”, they were spotted by local retired midwife Shirley Swayne who was driving along on the opposite side.
Said Jemma, “At first Shirley thought he was choking but then she realised he was having a seizure.
“We got in the car and I drove straight to casualty with her nursing him the whole way and making sure his airways were kept open.
“I could see him in the mirror jolting with the fits. She had him lying on his side and had her fingers in his mouth to keep it clear.
“She also rang through to A&E to tell them to expect us and when we got there, a nurse was waiting in the forecourt for us.”
Alex was taken straight to resus and only ‘came round’ when he was put on a drip. In total, he was unconscious for about 25 minutes
Said Jemma, “They took me out while they put the drip in and also started treating him for meningitis straight away. Everything goes through your head.
“The staff at the hospital were brilliant. They couldn’t have done more.”
Alex was kept in hospital for two days and monitored closely before being allowed home.
Added Jemma, “They say it was caused by a high temperature. He had a cough the month before, which they put down to a virus, and he had been on penicillin for a sore throat but he was well mended before he took the seizure.
“It just came on so quickly. He had been with me all morning and was fine. If Shirley hadn’t come along and helped us I dread to think what would have happened. I wouldn’t have known what to do. I didn’t know what was wrong with him.”
And both Jemma and her mother, Pauline Robinson, believe parents need to be more aware of the dangers of high temperatures and febrile seizures in young children.
According to Dr Ahmed Khan of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, febrile seizures are quite common in children between the ages of six months and five years. However, many parents are unfamiliar with them and don’t know what to when one occurs.
Said Jemma, “Just on Monday night there was a news programme on BBC from Daisy Hill Hospital saying what to do when a child takes a febrile seizure.
“You are meant to lie them down, keep their airways open and phone an ambulance - all the things that Shirley did for Alex. We were every lucky. I can’t thank Shirley and the hospital staff enough.”
The video from Daisy Hill Hospital can be viewed on the Southern Health and Social Care Trust Facebook page.