RANDOLPH — A Wausa man found out without warning that he had heart issues.
Larry and Judy Carlson of Wausa say it's amazing he is alive today after experiencing a heart attack on Nov. 3, 2018, at the Randolph City Auditorium.
Larry was unloading a truck full of handmade birdhouses for the Randolph Fall Craft show where he was an exhibitor. He moved his truck across the street from the auditorium so his wife, Methodist Pastor Judy Carlson, could pull her car close to the door and unload the few birdhouses she had in her car.
Larry walked across the street from his truck to the auditorium and entered the building. Everything went black at that point as the 73-year-old collapsed.
People instantly arrived at his side. Carolyn Lackas, a retired Registered Nurse, realized he was not breathing and did not have a pulse. She immediately knew he needed CPR.
Julie Pfanstiel and Sharon Riedel started CPR while Lackas directed the medical situation, and someone else called 911.
The trio continued CPR until the Randolph ambulance arrived. Tim Lemmons, Brent Billerbeck, and Konnie Frederick, from the Randolph Rescue Squad, along with Andy Thelen and Derek Kuhl from Randolph Fire Department, all arrived on the scene.
The EMTs first hooked up the Automatic External Defibrillator and shocked his heart one time. The Lucas Device was also hooked up which does compressions automatically.
They quickly loaded Carlson and drove to the Osmond Hospital.
The Randolph Rescue Squad turned the care of Carlson over to the Emergency Room at Osmond General Hospital but did not leave the hospital until Midwest Medical arrived in case they were needed.
Carlson was then transported to Faith Regional Hospital, Norfolk. He was officially diagnosed with a heart attack and underwent triple heart by-pass surgery.
According to Carlson, he was clinically dead three times and a total of 12 minutes.
He said he does not remember anything that happened to him after parking his truck across the street from the Auditorium. He has no memory of even walking across the street. His first memory is waking up in the Norfolk hospital, lying in a bed.
According to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 people experience a cardiac arrest outside of a health care setting. CPR, if immediately administered, can double to triple the person’s chance of survival.
“Early CPR and Defibrillation is the key to saving lives,” said Brent Billerbeck, a 14-year member and current President of the Randolph Rescue Squad,
The Lucas Device used during the life-saving action with Carlson was given to volunteer rescue squads two years ago through a grant from the Charles and Leona Helmsley Trust, which is dedicated mostly to health care efforts.
The Lucas Device is a portable device which performs consistent chest compression to improve blood ow to the patient in cardiac arrest.
At the time of Carlson’s heart attack, the Randolph City Auditorium did not have an AED.
Since then, the City of Randolph and the Randolph Rescue Squad have purchased eight AEDs and will be placing them around town. The City Auditorium will be a recipient of one of the AEDs.
During 2018, the Randolph Rescue Squad responded to 138 Emergency Medical Service calls and in those calls two of the rescues involved assisting in saving two lives with CPR and the people lived.
Because of their dedicated work, they received the Code Save Award from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
This is an award that is part of the EMS Recognition Project. Emergency Medical Service providers across the state are committed to serving their communities and providing important, lifesaving services to Nebraskans with approximately 80 percent of them being volunteers. The project recognizes the dedication and outstanding achievements of EMS providers and departments during their service to communities.
“The EMS Recognition Project plays an important role in thanking our EMS providers across the state for the dedication they exhibit and the sacrifices they make,” said Tim Wilson, Emergency Health Systems Program Manager with Nebraska DHHS. “The project helps celebrate a job well done and highlights the positive impact EMS providers have on patient outcome.”
People who were involved in the Randolph Fall Craft show Nov. 3 have been greatly affected by the miracle that happened during the time before the craft show started, while exhibitors were setting up their displays.
Jo Kilburn, a witness to the life-saving measures said, she admires everyone that helped Mr. Carlson.
“They were so professional and worked together,” she said.
Kilburn said last year Carlson was an exhibitor with his birdhouses and his work drew raves. He is known for his exquisite birdhouses and last year completely sold out at the craft fair.
This year after the emergency crews had left and everyone tried to pull themselves back together, Neil Lackas, opened Carlson’s booth and sold all 40 of the birdhouses for him in just three hours.
Carlson is so very thankful for everything done to save his life and everyone who was involved. He is feeling better, he said. His appetite is coming back, and he is getting stronger each day.
Carlson is alive today because of the many selfless acts carried out on the morning of Nov. 3 in Randolph.
People stopped what they were doing and rendered care to a person in need, helped his wife during a life and death situation, and stepped up to help the man in need finish what he set out to do for the day.
The citizens of Randolph set a ne example of what small town communities are known for — they all rose to the occasion to come to the aid of a person in need and showed the care and compassion that has become the hallmark of small-town living.
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