“Hi, my mom, I don’t know what happened but she’s on the floor,” Gaby Caro is saying to the 911 operator.
Emergency calls to 911 often sound harrowing. When the caller is 14 years old and talking about her mother, well, you can feel the terror in the child’s voice.
“She’s not breathing!” Gaby yells into the phone, and when she tells the operator she doesn’t know how to do CPR, you can hear the desperation loud and clear.
The dispatcher guided Gaby through the process of doing CPR. It happened on April 30th. On Tuesday, Gaby and her brother, 10-year-old Santiago, are at the fire station meeting the people who guided them through the experience.
The kids were home doing their distance learning when mom collapsed. Lisette Caro was in full cardiac arrest, dad was at work, so Gaby and Santiago jumped into action. Gaby called 911 while Santiago ran to get a phone charger.
Coral Springs Police and Fire dispatcher Melissa Ayers coached Gaby on how to do CPR.
"The young child that I spoke to did an amazing job, they immediately started to do compressions,” Ayers said.
“Keep going, you’re doing a great job, keep going,” Ayers says on the 911 call, and Gaby can be heard counting the compressions.
In the meantime, Santiago opened the door and directed the firefighters into the house.
“Everyone’s telling me it’s so heroic what I did, but I just did it out of love, I’m doing it because it’s my mom,” Gaby said.
Mom is recovering at the hospital, while dad can’t stop thinking about what might have been had the kids been at school instead of at home.
“If they wouldn’t have been home I’m assuming I would’ve got a call around 5 o’clock that mom didn’t pick us up and we probably would’ve found her dead on the floor at 7 o’clock when I got home, so them being home made all the difference,” said Doug Caro, the children's father and Lisette Caro’s husband.
Gaby says she remembered an episode of The Office in which the characters learned CPR, so she did the compressions to the tune of “Staying Alive” like they did on the show.
”And I was putting all my weight into it and I wanted to stop because I felt I was hurting her but I knew I had to keep on doing it to help her,” Gaby said, describing her efforts to the firefighters who arrived at her home.
The family came to Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department Station 109 to personally thank everyone who helped save Lisette Caro.
“We got there and used medicine and machines and things like that, it was the basic thing you were doing that probably saved your mom’s life,” one of the firefighters said to Gaby.
The kids rose to the occasion, and Gaby figures she’s got a good hand to play when mom comes home.
“She tells me to do the dishes, I’ll be like, I saved your life, you do the dishes!” Gaby said with a laugh.
Hopefully, her mom will be home from the hospital soon. Doug Caro said his wife is expected to make a full recovery.