Bravery award for four-year-old twins who saved grandmother
Sean O’Sullivan made phone calls after waking early and finding his grandmother unresponsive
Ruth Clarke with her grandchildren, four-year-old twins Sean and Emma O’Sullivan. Sean stuck crisps in his grandmother’s mouth and eyes in a bid to wake her and Emma then removed the crisps when it didn’t work. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Four-year-old twins who saved their grandmother from suffering potential brain damage or death when they raised the alarm after she fell unconscious following a suspected seizure have been presented with bravery medals at their playschool in west Cork.
Sean and Emma O’Sullivan were being minded overnight by their grandmother Ruth Clarke (69) on February 25th at their home in Clonakilty while their parents May and Brian went to Tralee for a concert.
Sean woke at 6am and could not rouse his grandmother.
He found her mobile phone and started pressing buttons, eventually reaching his grandfather, Stephen Clarke, who was at home nearby. Mr Clarke rushed to the house and tried to get in. Sean was too short to reach the latch so he got his tricycle, climbed on top of it and let his grandfather in.
Ms Clarke was taken to hospital where she spent two days in a coma. Doctors did not find anything in tests and put her collapse down to ageing epilepsy or an electrical malfunction in the brain. She is on her way to a full recovery.
“I can’t believe that Sean did what he did,” she said. “He saved my life. He called his mummy and said “Nanny is not waking up” and he called his granddad. He got me help. ”
Sean also managed to get through to his mother, May O’Sullivan. She said he kept screaming: “I can’t wake Nanny! I can’t wake Nanny!”
She said Sean stuck crisps in his grandmother’s mouth and eyes in a bid to wake her and Emma then removed the crisps when it didn’t work.
May O’Sullivan said she could never thank her children enough for what they had done for her mother.
“I was certain my mum had passed. One of the things the doctors said to us was that she would possibly have been brain damaged. How do you thank a little four-year-old for having the sense to pick up a phone? He is going to get a very special birthday present this year from everybody.”