Bianca, age 7, was visiting her father Richard Barney, III, at his apartment at 240 North Liberty Street in the City of Belleville on Friday, June 22.
Her mother Jessica had arranged for the little girl to go to her grandparents for the night, but she didn’t want to leave her father and begged to stay overnight. She got permission.
On Saturday morning, she was there when he needed her most – to save his life.
At 8:40 a.m. Saturday, Patrick Mahon was sitting outside on the bench next door at 220 North Liberty, when Bianca (who everybody calls “Bee”) ran up to him and said her father couldn’t breathe.
Mahon has been a trauma room nurse at Henry Ford Hospital for 22 years and before that was a Navy Corpsman for four years. He ran inside and found Barney on the floor propped up against the couch, “sweating bullets”. Barney said his stomach hurt and Mahon said it felt hard.
Since it was a hot day and he knew Barney had asthma, Mahon picked the man up to take him outside to get some air. That’s when blood poured out of his mouth all over the room.
It was later determined he lost two pints of blood in his living room and another pint before getting to the operating room at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.
Mahon called 911 and he said the female dispatcher hung up on him. He redialed and a male dispatcher was on the line. He listened to the information and dispatched Belleville Police and Fire.
The dispatcher reportedly said he was impressed with the details of the emergency reported by Mahon and Mahon explained his credentials. The dispatcher asked him to continue talking.
Mahon said Police Sgt. Todd Schrencengost was at his side immediately and they waved over the volunteer fire fighters who were arriving at the station just across the street after being toned out.
Fire fighters Brian Blackburn and Chris Zweng were the first to arrive.
Mahon said the emergency crews didn’t realize the scope of the problem until they looked into the living room at the blood.
“It looked like there had been a massacre,” Mahon recalled.
Margie Laginess, the manager of the apartments, said her mother was a nurse, as well as her boyfriend, Mahon, so she was used to emergencies, too.
Laginess said she was told that if Barney had been alone another ten minutes, he would have died. Mahon said he would have drowned in his own blood.
Laginess praised little Bee for running to get help instead of just sitting next to her father, the way some children do in emergencies.
Barney had suffered headaches from the heat and so he had taken a lot of aspirin which thinned his blood. He had eaten chicken wings the night before and Laginess said she was told by the emergency room staff that after they got him on the operating table, they found a hole in his esophagus that might have been caused by swallowing a chicken bone.
Laginess said Barney is known for wolfing down him food and she has cautioned him to slow down and chew each bite.
During the time the emergency crews were helping her father, Bee clung to Mahon for comfort.
Laginess said Police Chief Gene Taylor wanted to honor Bee with an award before the City Council, but then the chief was hospitalized himself. Chief Taylor said he would like follow through on this when he gets back to work in August.
He said often children are so afraid they just stay next to the suffering adult instead of going for help and Bee is special.
Laginess is planning a cookout and picnic to honor Bee and the police and fire fighters who helped. She said she would like that party to be after the session at City Council, whenever that turns out to be.