“Hutch is not one of those children who loves attention. He’s the guy in the corner at the party who doesn’t say much. But when he does say something, it’s worth listening to.”
Like most mothers, Natasha Bevacqua believes there is something extra special about her single-minded eight-year-old son Hutch. “He really cares about everybody and everything,” she explains. “He thinks about how things might affect someone. He’s very kind, compassionate and soft but strong as well.”
That strength of personality came to the fore when Natasha collapsed at their Sunshine Coast home in 2016 after taking a prescription drug for a sore throat – Hutch, then aged five, was the only other person in the house.
“I noticed that my hands and head became quite itchy and my heart was racing,” she recalls. “I was having trouble breathing. I went to the bathroom to take an antihistamine but I couldn’t swallow.”
Within minutes, Natasha’s condition started rapidly deteriorating. Her skin was covered in hives and she was struggling to breathe. She then collapsed against the bathroom wall, but managed to call out to Hutch to bring her phone to her. “By the time he came in, I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom,” she says. “I dialled triple 0 and put it on speaker. Hutch then took over the call.”
“I remember Mum being [on the floor] in the bathroom. She said, ‘Get me my phone’ and she dialled 000,” says Queensland boy Hutch Bevacqua, whose actions helped save his mum’s life. “When the ambulance man, Gavin, arrived I spoke to him in the driveway.” Hutch’s mum Natasha had collapsed after an allergic reaction to medication and was unable to speak. Showing maturity well beyond his five years, Hutch took over the emergency phone call, calmly following instructions to open the front door and giving the operator an update on Natasha’s condition. Without his efforts, she may not have survived the medical emergency. “He is incredible,” says his mum.
A transcript of the conversation between Hutch and the operator shows that despite the turmoil going on around him, the little boy remained calm, clear-headed and remarkably articulate.
Following instructions, Hutch opened the front door in preparation for the arrival of the paramedics. He also ran next door to alert the neighbours of the medical emergency. “My mum’s sick and won’t open her eyes,” he told them, after hammering at the door for some minutes.
Hutch then stayed by his mother’s side until the paramedics arrived and attended to Natasha, who was given oxygen and transported to hospital. “I remember trying to take my oxygen mask off in the ambulance,” she says. “I wanted to know if Hutch was alright, but one of the paramedics, Gavin, told me he was okay and staying with the neighbours.”
Gavin later told his supervisor at the ambulance station about what a remarkable young boy Hutch was – and they decided to present him with a teddy bear called Dave and a bravery certificate.
“Gavin was just gobsmacked with Hutch,” she says with pride. “Hutch remained really calm – most people in a situation like that are all emotional and not very helpful because they’re panicking.”
Reports of Hutch’s bravery soon made it into the local news, and the story was later picked up by the national television networks, but Natasha says that Hutch is still embarrassed by this ongoing interest. “The day after it happened he just went to school and didn’t mention anything to anyone,” she says.
Hutch was later awarded a Pride of Australia Medal for his heroic actions on that day in 2016, which paramedics clearly believe helped save his mother’s life. “Hutch is incredible. He is an amazing human being. In a crazy situation he was able to think on his feet,” says Natasha. “Most children would have gone, ‘Here’s the phone’ and gone off, but Hutch listened to every instruction and carried it out to a T, which is why I’m sitting here today.”