Very few 11-year-olds can say that they have saved a person’s life. Without the bravery and presence of mind of young Luke Bridle, his twin brother David may not have survived his recent near-drowning experience.
“It is very rare to come across a child with the ability to act quickly and sensibly under such stressful and frightening circumstances,” says Craig Grindell, managing director of Netcare 911. “We were so impressed at how Luke helped to save his twin brother’s life that we decided to award him a special Netcare 911 bravery certificate.”
According to the boys’ mother, Shandré Bridle, one afternoon in early September the twins were at home in a Johannesburg suburb with their child minder who was giving David a bath.
“Our son David is disabled, and is also an epileptic. He and Luke have an extremely special bond and from a young age Luke has learned how he can help David when needed. My husband Brian was travelling at the time and I was driving home when I received a phone call that nearly made my heart stop,” she recalls.
The boys’ child minder had stepped out of the bathroom to fetch a towel when David suddenly had an epileptic seizure in the bathtub.
“His face went under the water and his body went rigid during the seizure, he fell forward and he was drowning in the bath. Thankfully, Luke immediately jumped into the bath to try to get David’s head out of the water. Our child minder came running in but it was very difficult for her and Luke to lift David out of the bath because of the seizure. It frightens me to think of it, but David could have drowned,” Shandré says.
The boys’ father, Brian, explains that, in a flash, Luke pulled the bath plug so that the water could drain out of the bath, however there was still concern that David could have breathed in water during the seizure. “Together the child minder and Luke managed to get him out of the bath and lay him over the woman’s knee so that the water could drain from his mouth. Luke helped to pummel his brother’s back to help expel any remaining fluid from his lungs.”
Luke pressed a panic button to alert the security company, then phoned their mother, who has first aid training, and over the phone she talked him through all the steps of how to check whether his twin was breathing and place him in the recovery position until emergency medical services provider Netcare 911 arrived.
The plucky Luke kept a cool head during the ordeal, and having established that his brother was breathing, did his best to keep David calm by talking to him and reassuring him until the paramedics arrived.
Netcare 911 advanced life support paramedic, Adrian King, who attended to the emergency says he was incredibly impressed at the way in which such a young child had responded to such an emergency situation.
“When we got there, Luke had placed his brother in the proper recovery position and kept checking that he was breathing. He did everything that should have been done, it was truly remarkable for a child of his age.”
King says that even when the paramedics were attending to David, Luke kept a watchful eye on his brother. “You could see he was very concerned. He kept asking if his brother was all right and we reassured him over and over again but he still kept asking ‘Have you checked he is breathing?’ It was very touching to see how devoted he is to his brother, and all his actions demonstrated the close bond they have.”
Fortunately, David made a full recovery after being admitted to Netcare Olivedale Hospital.
Luke was recently presented with a special bravery award from Netcare 911 at the boys’ school, the Polly Shorts Academy in Weltevreden Park. He and David both received Netcare 911 toy ambulance sets as a reminder of the heroic act of brotherly love.
“This little lifesaver is an exemplary example of the importance of keeping a cool head in an emergency situation, as this is the best way to assist someone in their time of need. This is easier said than done, but Netcare 911 is always on hand to offer emergency medical care and guidance in a crisis such as the one these twins faced so bravely,” Grindell concluded.