A medical emergency can be harrowing for just about anyone, but siblings Tucker and Nina Stoops kept their cool.
Late in the afternoon of Jan. 26, ten-year-old Tucker and seven-year-old Nina were at home on Woods End Road when their babysitter, Naida Maldonado, developed difficulty breathing.
Nina, who first noticed that Maldonado was in trouble, told her brother that something was wrong. Rather than panic, Tucker picked up the phone and made a call to 911 — without which Maldonado might not be alive today. [Listen to a recording and see a transcript of the call.]
That courage under pressure has earned the two a lifesaving award from the , which the children are set to receive Thursday in a ceremony at the .
"Tucker and Nina Stoops are true heroes and are to be commended," Darien Police Sgt. Jeremiah Marron said in a statement.
According Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, who fielded the call, Tucker was "remarkably polite" throughout and was able to relay crucial medical information.
"I'm at 11 Woods End Road, and my babysitter's having a hard time breathing I think," Tucker told Johnson, who asked him several questions about her condition as he dispatched emergency responders to the address.
"She's making a strange noise. I don't know if she's okay," Tucker told him.
Later, Tucker asked Johnson if he could call his father, but the sergeant told him to stay on the line and said that officers would help him make the call.
"When you listen to the chilling audio of the phone call, it is evident that Tucker is nervous but amazingly never loses composure," Marron added. "The Darien Police Communications Center receives calls similar to this on a regular basis, but rarely do the callers remain unruffled."
And the situation was anything but calm. Officers Stuart Schwengerer and Robert Dahm arrived at the Stoops' residence to find that Maldonado was, indeed, in respiratory distress. Receiving direction from Central Medical Emergency Dispatch, the officers began administering treatment.
and Stamford paramedics reached the address soon after and intubated the woman, an emergency procedure in which a tube is inserted into a patient's airway to keep it open. Maldonado was taken to Stamford Hospital for treatment.
Though police said she is expected to make a full recovery, emergency room doctors told Christina Stoops, the children's mother, that Maldonado "likely would have died if just a few more minutes elapsed."
At the time of the incident, Maldonado had been working with the family 10 years. She herself served as a police officer for 18 years in Puerto Rico.
Police said that when Johnson went to the Stoops' residence the next day, Tucker didn't want to take credit and said that it was his sister who had first noticed that their babysitter couldn't breathe.
Tucker and Nina will be honored at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Darien Library, where all of the emergency personnel involved in the call will be on hand. Due to the number of events occurring at the library, those wishing to attend are asked to park on nearby Thorndal Circle.
Later that evening, the Darien Police Department during a ceremony at .
For a recording and transcript of Tucker's call, visit here.