Fort Worth woman credits great-great-granddaughter for the gift of life

FORT WORTH -- Davye Heard is one grandmother you don't want to take on in a bragging contest.

After all, how many other people can credit their 2-year-old great-great-granddaughter with saving their life?

Heard, a diabetic, was baby-sitting the girl, Bailey Francis, while Bailey's mother was at work.

"I had not been feeling well at all," said Heard, 78. "I had an episode with low blood sugar. When I came to the first time, I was in the refrigerator. I guess I'd been trying to get me something to drink."

Heard, who uses a wheelchair, rolled herself to her bed, where she lay down on top of the covers. Bailey, who frequently likes to join her on the bed to read stories or watch cartoons, climbed up beside her.

"I thought I was going to be all right, but apparently I wasn't," Heard said.

Heard regained consciousness again more than an hour later to find paramedics tending to her.

Bailey, Heard learned, had pressed the medical alert button Heard wears around her neck, summoning help.

"From the time I had got that I had told her -- because she wanted to press it -- 'No, that's a 911 button. You only do that if Granny doesn't answer you,'" Heard said.

Starting young

MedStar spokeswoman Suzy Miller said teaching children the importance of medical alarms, calling 911 and even cardiopulmonary resuscitation is valuable because "a young person can be a part of that lifesaving process."

Miller said that even if a child is too young to fully communicate with call takers, technology can allow emergency workers to triangulate the child's location and send help.

"Starting young is really important," Miller said. "Obviously in this case, it made a huge difference."

Heard said that although she has no recollection of about two hours of that early February evening, she does vaguely remember Bailey once trying to wake her, saying: "Granny. Granny. You need to talk to me."

Bailey's mother, Heather Tidwell, was on her lunch break when her cellphone rang. Bailey had apparently given the emergency crews her mother's and father's first names, allowing them to track Tidwell's number in Heard's address book.

Seeing "private caller" flash on the screen, Tidwell ignored it, she said.

"They called her daddy next, then he called me and he said, 'Do you know that the police have Bailey?'" Tidwell recalled. "The first thing that came to my head is something happened to Granny because the cops wouldn't have Bailey for no reason.

"I just threw the phone on the floor, hit the flashers and drove straight there. I knew something was going on. I just didn't know what," she said.

A kid with 'moxie'

When Tidwell arrived, Bailey was having too much fun playing with a stethoscope and talking to paramedics to pay her mother much attention. Heard, who was fed a peanut butter sandwich by paramedics after coming to, didn't require hospitalization.

"As soon as I got something in me, Bailey kept coming over and saying, 'Granny, you're talking to me!'" Heard said.

Heard said she later discovered that while she had been unconscious, Bailey had fed herself.

"Everybody could not believe she had the moxie to maintain herself and to actually know what to do with me," Heard said.

The remnants on Heard's counter showed Bailey's meal was cookies and two bananas.

"Granny wasn't around to say no," Heard said, laughing.

Because of her age, Bailey, who turned 3 in July, doesn't remember much about her heroic efforts and was more interested Friday in showing off her crawling baby doll and purple teddy bear.

Heard said she believes that she would have slipped into a diabetic coma if Bailey had not pressed her medical alert button.

"She's always been just really, really bright, but I thought I was just being a grandmother, like 'Mine is the best. My kids, my grandkids, are all superior,' you know," said Heard, who has five children, nine grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren. "In her case, it certainly is true.

"She's a pretty cool kid, I tell you."

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655