Monroe boy, 11, called ‘hero’ for calling 911, saving great-grandmother’s life

An 11-year-old Monroe boy is being called “a hero” for quick actions after he realized his great-grandmother was showing early signs of a stroke.

Nick Hutton, a sixth-grader at Monroe Elementary, called 911 on Nov. 7 when he noticed his great-grandmother, Barbara Earley, 84, had slurred speech and a drooping face. Nick said his great-grandfather, Don Earley, who was fixing breakfast, yelled at him to call 911. He told dispatchers about his great-grandmother’s medical emergency and the location of the house on South Main Street.

He stayed on the phone until paramedics arrived.

“He’s my little hero,” Barbara Earley said. “He helped saved my life.”

She was transported by Monroe paramedics to the Atrium Medical Center emergency room, where she was administered a medication that treats strokes in which blood flow to the brain is blocked by a clot in a blood vessel.

A patient’s chance of recovering from this type of stroke, known as an ischemic stroke, improves when the medication is administered within three hours of the event, according to the American Stroke Association.

Earley said once her blood pressure dropped to a safe level, she was given the medication. Then, she said, a few minutes later, it was like “a light switch went off” and she could talk.

She was released from the hospital on Nov. 9 and now must use a walker for three weeks until the medication leaves her body.

Registered Nurse Rachel Fadden, who works in the Atrium emergency room, said Nick’s actions probably “saved her life or kept her life from changing forever.”

Fadden was so impressed by Nick that she, along with Registered Nurse Brittney Ronto, presented him with a “World’s Best Super Hero” certificate during a ceremony at the hospital. Nick’s parents, Donnie Earley, 36, and Beth Rakes, 35, also attended the presentation.

“Sometimes we underestimate how smart kids are,” Fadden said.

Early said she came downstairs on Nov. 7 to fix breakfast for her husband and Nick, but her husband was already cooking. So she grabbed a cup of coffee and sat at the kitchen table. Her right hand went numb, then she started to mumble.

“I was feeling strange,” she said. “I couldn’t talk. I didn’t know what was wrong.”

That’s when Nick grabbed his cell phone and went into action.

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