911 dispatcher, 23, aids boy accidentally shot in Wyoming County
Bennington, Wyoming County - A young child shot accidentally in Wyoming County over the weekend will likely make a full recovery, in part because of the efforts of a 911 dispatcher. While on the phone with the child's frantic mother, the dispatcher recognized a critical turn in his condition.
"She did a really great job," said Wyoming County Sheriff Gregory Rudolph.
Hailee Carle has been answering 911 calls for just over two years. At 7:50 a.m., she was right where this family needed her to be.
"The mother is screaming and saying her baby had been shot," Carle told 13WHAM's Jane Flasch. "You need to stay calm. They need to stay calm."
Police say the three-year-old boy found a loaded .45-caliber handgun in the living room and shot himself at a home in the Town of Bennington. Carle's colleague dispatched an ambulance - in rural Wyoming County; Sheriff's deputies were 20 minutes out.
Carle remained calm and remained on the line. She's just 23-years-old, but is also an EMT.
"I asked, 'How is he breathing? How is his color?' I kept telling them to take a deep breath, we are going to get through this," she said.
She also instructed the mother to use a towel to put pressure on the wound. She continued to give encouragement, and then recognized a critical turn in the child's condition when he suddenly stopped crying.
"At that time, he was going pale and losing consciousness," said Carle. "She said, 'He's falling asleep,' and I said, 'No, no, you can't let him go to sleep.'"
She instructed the mother to rub the baby's sternum to keep him awake.
Sheriff Rudolph said the boy picked up the .45-caliber handgun after his parents left the room momentarily. He shot himself in the area between the upper chest and shoulder.
"It was accidental, we firmly believe that. But it's a sad tragedy and a preventable tragedy," said the sheriff.
The child was rushed to a hospital in Buffalo, where he made it through surgery. The sheriff said late Tuesday that the child was doing much better and would likely be okay. He said the investigation and a decision over whether charges will be filed will be determined later this week.
Carle, who has a cousin the same age, is relieved that the little boy she has never met will be okay.
"At the end of the day, how many calls you take can vary. But knowing you help someone daily is a great feeling," she said.