FLINT TWP. — “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,’‘ is a well-known distress call for elderly people that recently played out in a gripping rescue tale of a township senior citizen that garnered accolades for two township police officers who came to her aid in a Feb. 20 incident.
At the Monday night township board meeting, Chief George Sippert read a letter of thanks from the family of the elderly woman who lay on her back porch in the cold for 20 hours before being found.
The letter from her daughter, who lives out of town, conveyed her distress after not being able to make contact with her mother for 18 hours.
“I knew something was wrong at my mom’s house,” the daughter wrote. After calling all the places where her mother might be and not finding her, the daughter left her job, picked up her best friend and headed to Flint.
During the 30-minute drive, the two decided that they would call 911 and not enter the house if anything looked amiss.
“One of my deepest fears was that someone would break into my mom’s home and hurt her,’’ the daughter wrote.
Upon arrival, they immediately called police after finding the front door of the home standing wide open.
Officers Doug Hart and Glen Hill arrived in minutes.
“The two extremely professional police officers found my mom on her back enclosed porch – cold, breathing and somewhat responsive,’’ the daughter said.
The officer who gave the daughter the news that her mom was alive “has no idea how those words were so amazing to me,’’ she said
An ambulance arrived in minutes to take the mom to hospital where the bleeding in her brain worsened after she warmed up.
“The ICU doctors and nurses say that being out in that cold for 20 hours probably saved her life,’’ the daughter said. They also said they could not offer guarantees about her survival but she would not survive without emergency surgery to stop the bleeding in her brain.
She is currently in rehab at McLaren and her family is hopeful that she will recover enough to enjoy some quality of life and move into a retirement apartment waiting for her.
In retracing events, at first it seemed that the elderly woman had fallen off a ladder found on the porch leading up to the attic. But it was later determined that she had fallen after having a stroke.
The ladder was there from previous days of packing in preparation to move. The mother had been carrying food out to a stray cat when she was stricken.
“We (the family) wish to thank the Flint Township Police officers who came to her house that day. Their calmness and professionalism was so helpful at a very frightening time,’’ the daughter concluded in her letter of thanks.
Chief Sippert said he wanted to share the letter to recognize the nice work done by Officer Hart who has been with the department five years and Officer Hill for one year. The story demonstrates that police officers are called upon to do a lot more than fight crime.