Glenburn teenager makes tourniquet for his mom using shoelace and plywood

A 911 dispatcher helped the 16-year-old keep his mom conscious until an ambulance arrived.
Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 6:16 PM EST
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GLENBURN, Maine (WABI) - A Glenburn teenager put his emergency skills to the test last week after his mom fell and cut her wrist.

“I looked down at my slippers and put my slippers on, and I thought I probably shouldn’t wear these because it could be slippery, and I thought well, I want my feet to be warm,” Kristen Iarrobino said.

Moments later, she was on the ground in her front yard bleeding from her wrist.

Her 16-year-old son Cyrus jumped into action.

“I guess my hand went out, and the mug broke, and then I landed on the mug so the pieces of the ceramic mug cut my wrist,” Kristen said.

“She’s holding her wrist and says call 911, and I was like, a broken wrist and call 911? Then I grab a towel and see how bad it actually is,” Cyrus said.

The Iarrobinos knew it would take at least 15 minutes for an ambulance to get there.

After realizing how much blood there was, the dispatcher instructed Cyrus to find items for a tourniquet.

“I had these new shoes that I had just bought, like brand new, and I just ripped the strings right off them like some subconscious Hulk strength,” Cyrus said. “The guy on the phone kind of just said to tie it around and make it look like a clock. I watch a lot of Grey’s Anatomy, but I had never seen one before, I know it’s not the same.”

When EMTs got to the house, they got Kristen on an IV and took her to the hospital.

After two surgeries, Kristen is back home and has a long road to recovery.

“In hindsight, you think about things like this like almost dying, and I think the number one thing I took away from it was just gratitude and feeling like I’m exactly where I need to be in life,” Kristen said.

Penobscot County Dispatchers are happy to have helped.

“Of course you people call us at their worst moments, and we need to be as calm as we can because calmness is contagious,” said Betty Stone, a supervisor at Penobscot County Regional Communications.

Kristen’s husband, Michael, was out of town when she fell.

He says he never thought he’d need to teach his military training to his children.

“There are plenty of people who have and experience or more training and lack of experience and they are finally tested and they can’t perform. After the fact, it’s like all of a sudden discovering a super power. You have something that is completely foreign to a lot of people and what are you going to do with that,” Michael said.

The Iarrobinos are grateful for Cyrus’s ability to stay calm under pressure.

“I am not surprised at all that he was able to be there for me, and you know, essentially save my life,” Kristen said.

As for Christmas this year, we’re told everyone might be getting a special gift in their stocking.

“Everyone gets a tourniquet, at least a stick and shoelace for Christmas,” Michael said.

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