She will likely be the youngest person to ever receive a “Life Saver” award from the Murrieta Fire Department.
The department is planning to present the rare award to Karli LaFever, a quick-thinking 5-year-old girl who summoned medical aid Monday night for her great-grandmother when the 75-year-old diabetic woman’s blood-sugar levels dipped dangerously low.
At just after 11 p.m. Monday, crews were called to a home in the 40200 block of Via Acuna in Murrieta and arrived in just over five minutes to render aid to a women experiencing a life- threatening medical emergency, according to Murrieta Fire Department Spokesman Matt Corelli.
The patient's granddaughter, Brianna LaFever, was at scene when paramedics arrived. She notified crews that her daughter, Karli, was staying overnight with the elderly family member and had used the woman’s phone to call her.
“She said her Nana was crying and that when she asked her what was wrong, she said she was sick...My daughter said, ‘I have to call my mom so she can call her doctor,” Brianna said.
Brianna asked her daughter to put her Nana, Jennifer LaFever on the phone, but said the elderly woman was slurring her words. So she stayed on the phone with Karli while she drove the few short miles to Jennifer’s house in a retirement community.
Once there, Brianna said her grandmother was staring at her with a blank face and did not immediately recognize her. She thought she may have been having a stroke or a seizure so she called 911.
Arriving crews checked Jennifer’s blood sugar levels and determined they were very low, Brianna said.
Jennifer was treated at the scene and then transported via ambulance to a local hospital.
She, her granddaughter and her great-granddaughter were reunited back at her house Tuesday in time to celebrate not only New Year’s Eve but her health.
“I don’t remember any of it, really,” Jennifer said. “I’ve had low blood sugar but nothing like that. But it all worked out because Karli acted so quickly.”
Brianna said she had never seen her grandmother in that state, and was just grateful Karli had the wherewithal to call her.
“I’m just glad, I’m proud of her,” Brianna said. “If my daughter wasn’t there and she didn’t call me she wouldn’t have made it.”
She said her daughter, a kindergartener at Buchanan Elementary in Murrieta, does not read much yet but is trained to recognize important cellphone contacts such as hers.
“I had to call,” Karli said. “My Nana was sick, that is why she was crying.”
Murrieta fire Capt. Casey McDonald, who was among those who responded to the call, said Karli is a hero in his eyes. He told Patch that after her great-grandmother was stabilized, he went into the front room where Karli was quietly sitting.
“She immediately impressed me with her calmness and her maturity,” McDonald said. “She was beyond her years in age.”
The Murrieta Fire Department speaks with children during station tours and at schools about what to do in situations such as this, he said.
“This was absolutely textbook and it is good to see things like this that we teach happening out there,” McDonald said. “I think she should be acknowledged for her actions because of what she did, she helped out tremendously.”
The Murrieta Fire Department believes that “quick, effective and competent treatment along with early notification is what saves people's lives," according to Corelli.
“Without this 5-year-old girl’s actions, the outcome could have been very tragic,” Corelli said.