Kevin Wolf and those who love him, have something extra special for which to be grateful.
The 49-year-old body shop worker and father of two, was at one time, clinically pronounced dead. No heart beat could be found. After receiving state of the art emergency care at CHI St. Alexius Health Devils Lake Hospital's Emergency Department, along with care received at a referral hospital, Kevin now enjoys every day as an added blessing.
Kevin was enjoying a night out with friends, playing a game of darts. The next thing he remembers is waking up in a different city, an unfamiliar hospital, and it was eleven days later.
Family and friends helped Kevin fill in the missing time. Kevin mentioned he had no symptoms before his health event happened so he was quite surprised at the surroundings when he awoke. Kevin relates his story as "one moment I was visiting with a friend and moments later, I was on the floor."
Fate happened to be on Kevin's side. Three off duty police officers, Jason Toso, Corey Gilbertson, and Darin Rixen, were in the same building and started doing CPR. When the ambulance arrived, they defibrillated (Kevin's term –"zapped") him twice and got a rhythm. But soon Kevin was in danger again. As he reached CHI St. Alexius Health Devils Lake Hospital's Emergency Room (ER), once again, there was no heart rate.
The trained medical staff in CHI St. Alexius Health Devils Lake Hospital's ER continued trying to revive this vibrant happy-go-lucky young man. After one more "zap", again, there was no pulse. As the moments ticked by, Kevin's chances were getting limited. CHI St. Alexius Health Devils Lake Hospital's Emergency Team was anxiously watching the monitor for a sign of hope.
One more procedure was tried, again no pulse....he was still flat lined after two minutes. Everything had been tried. The team needed to "call the code." In layman's terms, the medical team was stating there was nothing more that they could do.
Then ...there it was...a slight pulse was felt…once again Kevin was "zapped." By now a helicopter was on its way from Minot. CHI St. Alexius Health Devils Lake Hospital uses helicopters and planes from Minot, Fargo, Bismarck, Sioux Falls, and Grand Forks to transport patients to the facility that best meets the patient's needs and/or is able to accept the patient. At times, the hospitals to which we refer are busy with other emergencies and unable to accept ours. It is times like this CHI St. Alexius Health Devils Lake Hospital is fortunate to have choices.
Kevin stated he was "zapped" twice on his way to Minot. As this procedure cannot be completed in the air, the helicopter stopped at Heart of America Medical Center in Rugby, and again, once on the highway. Once in Minot, Kevin's story does not lose the drama. His heart again quit. He ended up in an induced coma, had a pace maker put in, and wasn't given much of a chance of recovery. Hard decisions were being asked of his family. But like the rest of Kevin's story, the ending is one of surprise and blessings.
His 50th birthday party was not quite what he anticipated but was celebrated with hospital staff cheering him on. Kevin is back now with his family, enjoying life in a new way.
Kevin credits his wife, Donna, and his family and friends for the wonderful support through this life changing challenge. He also gives credit to God. CHI St. Alexius Health Devils Lake Hospital ER staff is also acknowledged by Kevin for their decisive action and quality care. Having that undaunting optimistic attitude, Kevin smiled as his blue eyes sparkled, and said, "Apparently I was supposed to come back and tell my story."
CHI St. Alexius Health Devils Lake Hospital has been fortunate to hear stories such as Kevin's from many grateful patients. Stories of appreciation have come from patients who have received services in our Swing Bed Program, Physical and Occupational Therapy, Admitting, Nutrition Services, OB and Patient floors, and virtually all departments in our hospital. Compassionate, quality care is one of our values and it is our hope that this is felt well beyond our walls.
CHI St. Alexius Health Devils Lake Hospital invites you to ensure this care continues for the years ahead. The CHI St. Alexius Health Devils Lake Hospital Foundation has been formed to help meet the needs identified for technology, new projects, retention and recruitment of staff, and future issues. As mentioned in the article, Kevin credits the quality of the care he received at our Emergency Room, but also the proximity of that care, as being integral to help saving his life. Keeping a rural hospital current with state of the art technology, trained staff, obstetrics and emergency departments, along with the needed ancillary services requires the support of our community and those who have loved ones in our community that may need our services.
Many have generously supported our foundation and our hospital. THANK YOU! If you feel called, please consider an increase in your contribution.
CHI St. Alexius Health Devils Lake Hospital has been serving our community for over 100 years, we ask your help to ensure it continues past another 100.
Thank you for your support!