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Swift Action by Ben Ratto ’21 Saves Mom


While out to dinner with his mom at a local cultural club, Ben noticed she began sweating profusely, was lethargic and appeared pale.

Linda Ratto, who has Type 2 Diabetes, was indeed in distress. Though she didn’t know it at the time, her blood sugar level had plummeted to 22, which could result in seizure, coma, stroke or even death.

“He was so strong. He took matters into his own hands.”

Ben held her hand and wiped her face, and tried to counteract what he suspected was hypoglycemia by giving his mom a glass of Coca-Cola mixed with sugar packets as well as some candy – and he asked someone at the club to call 911.

“I knew what was happening because of what I’ve learned in my biology class with Mr. Newman and my Boy Scout first aid training,” Ben said. “From biology class, I knew that she was lethargic because of her body’s lack of glucose and, in turn, the lack of ATP (adenosine triphosphate)/energy production through cell respiration. From collective knowledge from Scouts and biology, I knew the failure of organs would ensue and may cause permanent damage. To limit brain damage from lack of oxygen, I needed to increase her consumption of glucose.”

Because Linda had lost consciousness by the time the paramedics arrived, Ben provided them important information about his mom’s allergies and medications she takes. He had already removed all of his mom’s jewelry so it wouldn’t obstruct their efforts to treat her.

“This had never happened to me before. He was so strong. He took matters into his own hands,” Linda said.

The paramedics commended Ben for his actions, as did the hospital emergency room doctors and nurses, saying Ben’s quick thinking averted a tragedy.

The hospital discharging doctor shook Ben’s hand when Linda was released, telling him “You saved your mom’s life and you should be proud of yourself.”

After a two-night hospital stay, and some adjustment to her insulin medication, Linda is doing fine. She’s still amazed at how Ben jumped into action – especially since it must have been scary for him to witness his mom having a medical emergency.

“He was so calm. It was as though he wasn’t related to me – he took on another persona and handled it so well,” she said.

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