Nine-year-old Gold Coast girl saves mum’s life with help of triple-0 dispatcher

An emergency dispatcher says a nine-year-old Gold Coast girl saved her mum’s life by making a triple-0 call and performing CPR for almost 20 minutes.

When Sharon Johnson fainted at their Helensvale home in July, her daughter Charli immediately knew what to do.

“I checked if she was awake and still breathing, and I went and called triple-0,” she said.

“I thought something was wrong so I knew what to do.”

Ms Johnson had a viral infection, which led to her fainting while the pair were alone at home.

Charli was awarded for her bravery and composure by the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) on Friday.

‘Keep doing the compressions’
At the start of the call to the QAS, emergency medical dispatcher Anne Barklimore can be heard asking for Charli’s suburb and name, to which she replied “Helensvale, Charli”.

During the call, Charli is heard telling Ms Barklimore that her mum had stopped breathing.

“She just kneeled to the ground and she just fainted,” Charli said.

“Is she awake?” Ms Barklimore said.

“No, I don’t think so. I think she’s just stopped breathing,” Charli said.

Ms Barklimore then started directing the child to do chest compressions which lasted for about 17 minutes.

“Listen carefully, I will tell you how to do resuscitation,” Anne said.

Ms Barklimore talked Charli through how to perform CPR, and the pair counted the pumps together on the phone.

“I need you to keep doing the compressions over and over, don’t give up,” Ms Barklimore said.

“One, two, three, four — that’s the speed you’re going Charli. You’re doing a great job.

“You are doing such a good job Charli, and that you knew to call triple-0, I am so proud of you … and your mum is going to be so proud of you.”

Ms Johnson can then be heard crying after regaining consciousness.

‘Proud’ medical dispatcher
Charli said Ms Barklimore’s directions were helpful but said performing CPR was still a challenge.

“It was a bit scary, especially doing it on my mum,” she said.

Ms Barklimore praised the schoolgirl’s efforts.

“She saved her mum’s life that day,” she said.

Ms Barklimore said she recognised it was a young voice from the first moment, but Charli’s composure was beyond her years.

“She answered the questions calmly and directly — that’s so important,” Ms Barklimore said.

“I was proud. As a mother, I just thought, ‘She’s nine and she doesn’t know what’s happened to her mum’.

“She held it together. So many older people don’t have that composure — it was quite surprising.”

Charli wants to ‘help other kids’
Gavin Nichols was one of the paramedics to arrive at the scene.

“We don’t often go to a young person who is said to be performing CPR on their mum,” he said.

Mr Nichols says for a young child to know to call triple-0, and then provide information calmly and directly, is an important lesson for other families.

“You don’t know when you’re going to have your emergency,” he said.

“So it’s really important to have your friends and family aware of what to do when that emergency happens.”

An emotional Ms Johnson said she was “very proud” of her daughter.

“I’m surprised Charli did what she did,” Ms Johnson said.

“We’d gone over our address, my phone number — we hadn’t actually done it for a while, but she’s obviously retained it.

“She’s a bit of a ratbag at home, so she did surprise me.”

Charli said she now wants to be a paramedic so she can teach other kids how to do CPR.