Beating the clock

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If the guy on the right looks pretty healthy to you, it’s because of the two guys on the left.

Nic Kuehneman, left, and Robb Prechtel, middle, were honored at Regions Hospital in St. Paul this afternoon for the fastest time between the moment a call came in of a person having a heart attack, and the moment at which a surgical team at the hospital opened a blocked artery. Dan Campeau, 62, of Fridley had the heart attack.

Campeau was picking up some documents at the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center last February when he slipped on some snow. Sitting in his van a minute later, he realized he was having a heart attack. “I went into the police station and told them to call 9-1-1,” he said today.

A minute later, Kuehneman and Prechtel showed up. The clock was ticking. “A lot of people talk in terms of mortality with heart attacks,” Dr. R.J. Frascone, the medical director of Regions, said. “They don’t think in terms of morbidity. They can survive but be ‘cardiac cripples.'” He says heart attack victims have 90 minutes to have a blocked artery open if they want to live; substantially less than that if they want to live without heart damage. Prechtel and Kuehneman, and Regions’ staff, did it in 30 minutes — 1 minute less than last year’s record, and 6 minutes less than the record set a year earlier.

“I have no ill effects now,” says Campeau, who was in the hospital for two days and met Kuehneman and Prechtel today for the first time since. “I thank the Lord for them every day. If you’re going to have a heart attack, the best place to have it is in St. Paul.”

  • Bob Moffitt

    When I worked PR for Regions Hospital, we were always trying to share stories like this one (in additional to the usual Trauma Center and Burn Center stuff). Nice to see Regions and the paramedics they help train get some credit! Good job, Bob.