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4-year-old's quick thinking saved his mother's life when she went into septic shock

He used the 'Siri' feature to call his father immediately and even distracted his siblings as they dealt with the situation.

4-year-old's quick thinking saved his mother's life when she went into septic shock
Image Source: Youtube | WCCO - CBS Minnesota

Children bring a lot of joy to their parent's life, and it is extremely rewarding. For this mother, having a child also proved to be life-saving. When the mother slipped into septic shock, her 4-year-old child saved her life by caring for her and his two younger brothers. Rachel Milless of Big Lake, Minnesota, claimed she was suffering from the illness last November and was home alone with her 4-year-old son Asher and his younger siblings, aged 2 and 1.


The woman, a registered nurse, stated that she knew she was unwell enough to go to the ER. She decided it was best to drop her boys off at her sister's house and drive herself to the ER, when suddenly, she had a coughing attack. She told Good Morning America, "I felt like I was breathing through a straw and it was terrifying. And then eventually, I just didn't feel like I was breathing well at all." Rachel Milless stated that she has asthma and uses a nebulizer at home. She said she fell on the floor in the kitchen while attempting to grab her nebulizer to help her breathe, and that's when Asher stepped in.

She said, "He just instinctively brought [the nebulizer] over and plugged it in and hooked it up and put all the meds in it. He held it to my face and said, 'Just breathe, mom,' and was practicing with me." She stated she and her husband, Tyler Milless, who was in another state for business at the time, had never shown Asher how to use the nebulizer. She also claimed that they had never shown the 4-year-old how to use their mobile phones, yet the next thing Asher did was grab Rachel Milless' phone and click the side button, telling Siri, "Call daddy."


Milless further explained that while they had never taught him how to use the phone, the little boy had observed his parents and learned from them. "I do hold the button down and say (to Siri) to call people often when I have the three of them by myself. But we had never taught it to him, never walked him through it." Asher's message to Siri prompted the call to his father who notified everyone living nearby and called 911. Tyler explained, "[Asher] said, 'Mommy needs help...she's on the floor, and then it was just a matter of continuously asking him questions." 

Tyler said he stayed on the phone with Asher until paramedics came, explaining to his kid how to unlock the front door and let the first responders in to save his mother. While Asher was caring for his mother, he also kept an eye on his siblings. Asher brought his younger siblings to an area outside the kitchen and provided them with snacks and toys to keep them occupied. Sherburne County Sheriff Chief Deputy Steve Doran said, "When our officers got there, she was down on the floor and having...difficulty in breathing. Her diagnosis was she was going into septic shock from complications due to influenza A." 


Doran added, "I think they were very surprised and they were extremely impressed that a child so young was capable of doing that thing. Even from the moment, the incident started...he knew something was wrong and knew enough to place a phone call." Milless was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where physicians informed her, "Your 4-year-old saved your life." She said, "They said if I would have waited any longer I would have been very sick and I wouldn’t be alive today. So I owe it all to this little guy, who is my guardian angel. Without him, I probably wouldn't be here." 

The Sherburne County Sheriff's Office presented Asher with the Life Saving Award last week. He is the youngest winner to earn the honor in the office's history. Doran said, "Our office was thoroughly impressed that a boy so young could take the actions that he took that day. It’s just incredible to know that someone so young is capable of that." His parents stated they are still amazed at Asher's ability to remain calm in the face of a disaster. Tyler said, "It just amazes me because he's a wild 4-year-old. He's all over the place all the time, but in that moment he knew that mom needed help and he needed to be calm." 

Milless and her husband learned from the experience not to underestimate children and how much children learn by watching their parents.  

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