‘Hero’ toddler uses FaceTime to call for help as dad suffers stroke

Click to play video: 'Virginia girl being credited with saving dad’s life'
Virginia girl being credited with saving dad’s life
A three-year-old Virginia girl is being credited with saving her dad's life after calling her mom on FaceTime while he was having a stroke. – Jul 13, 2018

Three-year-old Molly McCabe’s quick thinking is being called heroic.

The Virginia toddler recently made headlines after using FaceTime to call her mom while her dad, Trevor McCabe, was having a stroke.

“When I answered the phone my daughter was sobbing, crying,” mom Devon McCabe tells Global News. “She just kept saying ‘daddy, daddy’ and then ‘look at daddy.’ That is when she turned the phone away from her to show me my husband collapsed in the middle of our living room floor.”

The health scare happened on July 4 while she was at work.

READ MORE: Surrey construction worker hailed as hero after toddler nearly drowns

When Trevor collapsed, he used his phone to try to call his wife, but McCabe ended up missing the call. The second time around, Molly tried it, this time looking into the camera right at her mom.

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‘Hero’ toddler uses FaceTime to call for help as dad suffers stroke - image

Trevor McCabe and Molly McCabe of Virginia. Photo courtesy of Devon McCabe. 

“Even after working in a hospital for 10 years, first in the ER, and now for last six years as an ICU nurse, I couldn’t even think straight when I saw my husband laying there,” she continues. “I thought maybe he passed out but inside I knew it was more than that. I was shaking from head to toe. My daughter said, ‘Mommy please come home.’ And I told her our friend and neighbour would be right there and that I was on my way.”

An ambulance was called and her husband was rushed to a nearby hospital and had suffered a blood clot to his artery in his brain stem, NBC Washington reports.

WATCH: Exploring what happens during a stroke
Click to play video: 'Ask the Doctor: Exploring what happens during a stroke'
Ask the Doctor: Exploring what happens during a stroke

“Probably if I had to pick one artery in the brain, that’s the most critical artery that you don’t want to have blocked off,” radiologist Dr. Edward Greenberg told the site.

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More than a week after his stroke, McCabe says her husband is doing better.

‘Hero’ toddler uses FaceTime to call for help as dad suffers stroke - image

Devon, Trevor, Molly and their family. Photo courtesy of Devon McCabe.

“His speech is still very slurred and he can’t eat or drink so he has a feeding tube,” she adds. “But he has started working with physical therapy to learn how to walk again. Even though it’s hard to understand what he’s saying, he has continued to crack jokes and make us laugh every day. We are so grateful.”

The couple has also set up a GoFundMe page to help alleviate some of their upcoming medical costs from the unexpected incident.

Teaching children how to call for help

One of the most remarkable things about this story is how McCabe’s daughter quickly knew how to use her dad’s phone. McCabe adds she had no idea Molly knew how to use FaceTime technology by herself.

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“We have never taught her,” she says. “The only thing I can think of is that we frequently FaceTime her grandparents, so Molly has seen me do it on my phone many many times.”

READ MORE: 9-year-old non-verbal girl with cerebral palsy honoured for saving brother’s life

She adds Molly also has a better-than-average memory, which could explain why she was able to recognize the word “Devon” on her dad’s phone.

“Although she cannot read, she somehow recognized the letters that make up my name in my husband’s phone. A few days ago I asked her to show me how she called me on daddy’s phone. Without any help from me, she replicated her actions perfectly.”

Parenting coach Julie Romanowski of Miss Behaviour tells Global News parents should teach their children the concept of emergencies and what to do if something happens.

“This would include dialing 911 as well as many other options,” she says. “Children respond well to very clear instruction. The top three ways children learn best is through instruction, repetition and role modelling.”

She also recommends posting an emergency plan somewhere that allows the child to access it, detailing what they can and can’t do.

READ MORE: Calgary bus driver saves family from burning home

“Role modelling is one of the best ways children learn,” she said. “Create a plan first using visuals and use it when practicing the scenarios. Ensure that it is factual, informative and light. I would avoid making it too silly or too frightening for the child.”

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And besides reaching important contacts like 911 or family members, safety is also important on a day-to-day basis. Teach your children about kitchen safety (stoves, sinks, etc.), household safety (outlets, windows, etc.) and anything related to the outdoors.

“As parents and caregivers, health and safety are the number one priority.”

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