Quick-thinking taxi driver hailed a hero after speeding through Lancaster traffic to get 19-month-old boy to hospital

A taxi driver has been hailed a hero after speeding through busy traffic to get a 19-month-old boy to hospital.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 4:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 5:09 pm
Taxi driver Steven Corless.

Steven Corless flagged down police to help him in his emergency mission after the toddler’s family called on him to help when they couldn’t get an ambulance.

Steven Swarbrick had phoned 999 when his son Max suffered a seizure – but was told there were no ambulances available immediately.

However, Coastal Taxis driver Steven Corless came to their aid and took the family to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary to get Max the help he urgently needed.

Max Swarbrick was taken to hospital by a taxi driver after suffering a seizure.

Along the way Steven flagged down a police car to escort them through busy traffic, and the journey was further helped by a second police vehicle.

In a post on Facebook after Saturday’s dramatic incident, father-of-two Steven Swarbrick said: “I’d like to say a massive thank you to the taxi driver who helped us.

“Our 19-month-old son suffered a seizure, we called 999 for an ambulance but despite it being an emergency one wasn’t available to come.

“The taxi driver offered to take us to hospital, he managed to flag down a police car to escort us through on blue lights and sirens, a second police car joined us to help us through the busy Lancaster traffic.

“Luckily we arrived at the hospital in no time where the A&E staff were outside waiting for us.

“Our son is back home now recovering but we would like to say a massive thank you to this taxi driver for his help and professionalism and also to the police officers and A&E staff.”

The Facebook post has since been shared and liked hundreds of times, with the taxi driver being praised for his quick-thinking.

Steven, 60, who has been a taxi driver for eight years, said he was initially called to the family’s Morecambe home to collect Kym Swarbrick, to take her to Morecambe prom, where her husband Steven was with their son Max and daughter Miah, six.

“She said their son was unconscious,” he said. “When I pulled up the husband said he couldn’t get an ambulance and they were both very anxious, so I suggested I could take them but obviously it wouldn’t be as quick as an ambulance.”

As Steven set off along the prom with the family, he spotted a police car, put his hazard lights on and stopped the officers, asking them to escort him to the RLI.

As they reached Skerton they were then joined by a police van, and both emergency vehicles escorted the taxi through the one way system with blue lights flashing.

They were met by waiting doctors when they reached A&E.

“It was very quick,” he said. “I didn’t really have time to think, I just tried to keep calm and get there as quickly as I could.

“I was thinking about the kiddie but also I had to concentrate because we were driving so fast.”

Steven, a former truck driver and experienced motorist, said it was only afterwards that the situation sank in.

“I went home after I had dropped them off,” he said. “I felt a bit anxious and just went home to relax.”

Steven, who is a grandfather, said he was later told by family about the story going viral on social media.

“I only did what anyone else would have done,” he said. “It makes you think though, and luckily I was able to help them.

“My main concern was getting the child to hospital in time.”

“I have had a message to say the little boy is OK, so I am just glad it all ended the right way.”

Steven, who lives in Lancaster, added that although he “wasn’t bothered” about being paid his taxi fare, the family have since dropped payment into the Coastal Taxis office along with a thank you card and gift voucher.

Max is now recovering at home from his ordeal.

He has previously suffered seizures which required medical attention, and has since been diagnosed weith febrile seizures.

Dad Steven said he was out for a walk on the prom with Max and Miah when the drama unfolded.

“We were just about to head home when I noticed that Max was looking a bit uncomfortable in his buggy so I stopped to sort him out,” he said.

“I immediately realised that he was suffering from a seizure, as he had experienced several of these since March of this year.

“Whilst making sure he was comfortable I called 999 for an ambulance. Miah was a great help throughout.

“I managed to get a message to my wife to explain what was happening and where we were.

“She decided to get a taxi rather than drive; luckily this decision proved to be vital later.

“The taxi driver dropped my wife off and insisted on waiting until the ambulance came and even offered to take us to hospital.

“It soon became apparent that there weren’t any available emergency ambulances at that time.

“As Max had been sick during his seizure and, although he had stopped fitting, he wasn’t fully responsive and his breathing wasn’t as it should be, we decided that we needed to get him to hospital urgently so took up the offer of going to the hospital in the taxi.

“Just as we were setting off the taxi driver noticed a police car going the other way; he quickly stopped the police car and explained what was happening.

“We then set off at speed following the police car with its blue lights and sirens on; as we approached Lancaster a second police vehicle joined us from behind.

“The police communicated with colleagues already at the hospital so they could advise the A&E staff of the situation and our imminent arrival.

“The journey from Morecambe to the RLI (according to my Google maps timeline) took just 11 minutes. As soon as we arrived medical staff were there to assist our son.”

Max was allowed home from hospital after a few hours, although unfortunately he suffered two more seizures later that day.

“He is back to his usual self now,” Steven said. “He has experienced around 16 febrile seizures since he turned one back in March, and we were just approaching four months seizure free until the latest one on Saturday.

“Unfortunately there isn’t anything that stops him having the seizures but this is something he will grow out of.”

Steven said his family was immensely grateful for all the help they received.

“My family and I were very grateful to Steven for sticking around and taking us through to the hospital,” he said.

“He was very caring, very professional, excellent driving skills and he is a credit to the local taxi services.

“We would also like to thank the police officers who assisted us as they were also very professional, acted with urgency and came back to check on Max.

“We would also like to thank the A&E staff who cared for Max during this and previous visits to A&E.

“Due to the exceptional help we received in getting him to the hospital I have delivered a thank you card to Steven along with a gift card and of course the taxi fare as a little something to say a big thank you for the help he provided for us.

“I also delivered a thank you card, doughnuts and chocolate to the police station.”