'I wouldn't be here': Girl, 9, credited with saving father's life during heart attack
Published Friday, April 21, 2017 8:23AM EDT
A Nova Scotia man has a lot to be grateful for and he has his young daughter to thank.
When Bert Shea had a massive heart attack at home in Dartmouth, N.S. two weeks ago, he feared he would die. But his daughter, nine-year-old Anika, knew what to do.
It happened on a Sunday, when the pair was out by the garage, sawing and stacking wood. Bert began to feel weak, and set his saw down. He went into the garage to sit down in a chair.
“The next thing I know, I hear him fall and I come over and I see him on the floor,” Anika said in an interview with CTV Atlantic.
Bert was having a heart attack. The only person around was Anika.
“All I could think was, her watching me die on the floor,” Bert said.
Anika used her cellphone to call her mother, Stephanie Hodges, who was at work. “I answered it and she said, ‘Mummy, daddy’s on the floor, you better come home,’” Hodges said. “And she pretty much hung up on me.”
Anika hung up and immediately dialed 911.
Anika has a cell phone for her own health reasons. She has asthma, and her parents wanted to make sure she could always call them if she needed them. Turns out it wasn’t Anika who needed to help.
“I wouldn’t be here, I’m sure of it, if it wasn’t for her,” Bert said.
Within minutes of Anika dialing 911, police and paramedics had arrived at the house. Her parents taught her how to call for help in an emergency.
Anika was scared, but remained calm.
“I am so proud of her,” Hodges said. “She is amazing.”
Bert is now recovering from his heart attack at home. Anika is never far from his side.
“I’m making sure he doesn’t lift anything over five pounds or eat anything he’s not supposed to eat,” she said.
Bert said he doesn’t know what he would “do without her.”
For the Shea family, the incident has underscored the importance of teaching children how to phone 911 in an emergency.
With a report by CTV Atlantic’s Kelland Sundahl