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Being in the right place at the right time
AUG. 6, 2012

Dassel citizens and first responders recognized for life-saving efforts

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

DASSEL, MN – In the right place at the right time was exactly where Christina Clark was April 5, 2012. She, along with several others were commended last Tuesday for their life-saving efforts that spring afternoon.

It was around 5 p.m. on April 5 when Clark and her friend JoAnna Hall went out for a run as part of their training for a half-marathon.

They were on the north side of Collinwood Lake when Bruce Narr yelled to them asking if they knew CPR.

As a former flight attendant and trained in CPR, Clark ran to the backyard to help.

Todd Hempel, a concrete worker doing a side job at Bruce and Sandy Narr’s home, had collapsed and was unresponsive. They would later find out he suffered a massive heart attack.

She immediately began administering CPR while Bruce made the 911 call for help.

Within just a few minutes, Meeker County Deputy Travis Sebring was on the scene and administered a shock using an automatic external defibrillator (AED), while Clark continued CPR. He then set up his oxygen kit to assist with ventilation.

Dassel Fire and Rescue then arrived on scene and relieved Clark from chest compressions and Sebring from oxygen therapy. Sebring continued to monitor the AED and administer shocks – a total of four, according to the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office report.

Gold Cross Ambulance arrived on the scene and paramedics, with assistance of Dassel Fire and Rescue, continued to perform several cycles of CPR before there was a detectable pulse.

Hempel was then transported to Hutchinson Community Hospital where a helicopter was waiting to transport him to Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

According to Todd’s wife, Kim, within an hour of his collapse, Abbott had inserted a stent and he was in stable condition.

“God was on his side that day,” Clark said, noting that her and JoAnna were planning to run at 4 p.m. that day, but it had been delayed by an hour. Had things gone according to plan, Clark said, they would’ve been long past the Narr residence. “It wasn’t Todd’s time,” she said.

As a former flight attendant, Clark has been in emergency situations before and found that in this particular situation, there was tremendous teamwork.

“Everyone played a part,” Clark said, beginning with the 911 call.

“Bruce was very calm and collected on the phone,” she said, explaining how important it is to take a deep breath and explain the situation to the dispatcher.

She was also very impressed with the first responders.

“For [the fire and rescue] to come within six minutes of a dispatched call, we have to feel really safe in our community,” Clark said.

Narr also commended the first responders for their quick response and was particularly impressed with Sebring for remaining calm and knowing exactly just what to do when he arrived on the scene.

Kim and Todd were later told by doctors just how critical those first five minutes were in saving his life. After six minutes without 100 percent oxygen, there is more of a chance for brain damage.

Though he has intermittent memory loss, Todd is making tremendous strides, more so than his therapist predicted, Kim said.

The Hempels have been told that there are five things that need to be in place for a heart attack patient to make a full recovery. The steps include calling 911, administering CPR, quick response from rescue personnel, hospital’s response in identifying the medical care needed, and administering the necessary medical care. All of which were in place, Kim stated.

“It was a chain effect,” said Meeker County Chief Deputy Brad Lindgren “And none of the chains were broken.”

There isn’t anyone more appreciative of everyone’s efforts than Todd and Kim Hempel.

“Words cannot describe the gratitude we feel for those people who were there that day, starting with Chris Bisteadeau and Chad Anderson (both were working with him that day), Christina Clark, Bruce and Sandy Narr, Travis Sebring, the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office, and the ambulance and crew.

“The outpouring of continued love and support from our friends, family, Kim’s clients, Kingston Lions Club, and the community have been overwhelming.

“Todd is going to make a full recovery because of all of you,” Kim said. “We hope God blesses you, as he has blessed us.”

As unbelievable as the circumstances were, Kim has stated, “I believe in miracles, I believe in God, and I believe in my husband.”

“I’m quite lucky to be right about it,” she said.

CPR training offered in DC

A Heartsaver CPR class will take place Dassel-Cokato High School Monday, Sept. 24, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. and a first aid class Wednesday, Oct. 3, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Register by calling DC Community Education at (320) 286-4120.

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