Volunteer EMTs save mans life after flatlining for 37 minutes
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Four months ago, a Washburn business owner went into cardiac arrest and was given a less than one percent chance of living.
Intensive Care Unit doctors say it was the volunteer EMT's that ultimately saved his life en route to Bismarck.
May 18 was just a normal day for Clark Price.
He was helping ranchers in his feed lot treat soybeans, when he began having chest pains.
Those are some of the last moments Price remembers. Eight days later he woke up in the ICU where he learned he had multiple heart attacks.
Doctors and nurses nicknamed Price "The Miracle Man."
On a typical day, you can find Price at his family owned business, River AG.
“Going through the normal routine of the day, still just having some basic chest pains, right through the middle of my chest,” said Price. While at his desk, Price passed out. His store manager quickly dialed 911.
When EMT’s arrived they were skeptical of a self-diagnosed seizure.
“He said, ‘oh yeah Jill, right here, I have acid reflex, its right here.’ And I said, ‘on a scale of 0 to 10, 10 is the worst, what is your pain?’ ‘Well it’s a 10,’ he said,” said EMT Jill Wiese.
They loaded Price into the ambulance for the 40 mile trip to Bismarck. “It took a turn for the worst, quick. We hadn’t even left city limits, we hadn’t even left town, we weren’t even on Highway 83 and had the first of three or four ‘seizures,‘” said EMT Emily Rettertath.
Those “seizures,” were heart attacks. “I think after the fourth one is when we lost him at that point,” said Wiese.
Wiese and Retterath performed CPR for nearly 20 minutes, when they had their driver Mark Lelm, pull over in Wilton.
“Jill told Emily to tell me to pull over and get back here and help us with CPR,” said Lelm, an EMT. Lelm climbed in the back of the rig to help attach the Lucas chest compression device. On the ride from Wilton to Bismarck, Price had no heartbeat.
“We knew somebody was in there, he was not gone, even though he didn’t have a pulse, he was there with us. And I saw it in his eyes,” said Retterath.
“Thirty-seven minutes in the ambulance without a heartbeat and roughly another 10 in the E.R.,” said Price.
Price’s wife was told, he only had a point five percent chance of living.
“I honestly don’t know why they kept working on me. They could have said, ‘he’s gone,’ and marked the time and had it over with. But, something told them, or the good Lord was guiding them, but I don’t know what it was, but they kept working on me,” said Price.
Price had two stents placed in his heart on May 18, along with another two, two days later.
“I sadly would check obituaries thinking am I going to see it in the newspaper,” said Wiese.
After an eight-day induced coma, Clark woke up.
“They nicknamed me M&M, miracle man, in the ICU,” said Price.
On June 2, he returned home, to thank his guardian angels.
“All the ICU doctors, all the nurses I had said if my first responders hadn’t done everything perfect, than the outcome never would have been the same. I wanted to thank them yes, but my words are just words, I mean, they saved my life,” said Price.
Today, Price’s heart continues to beat, because of the three volunteer EMT’s that refused to give up.
Price is now attending cardiac rehab twice a week.
From this story he has decided to nominate Jill, Emily, and Mark for the Carla Anderson Heart of 911 award, a national honor from Washington D.C.
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