Klumpers grateful to ambulance crew, EMTs for numerous life-saving measures

WORTHINGTON -- Wayne and Dea Klumper are better acquainted than most people with the efficiency and high skill level of the EMTs and ambulance crew members who serve Sanford Worthington Medical Center.

Wayne and Dea Klumper pose for a photo at their Worthington home. (Tim Middagh / Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON - Wayne and Dea Klumper are better acquainted than most people with the efficiency and high skill level of  the EMTs and ambulance crew members who serve Sanford Worthington Medical Center.


While they wouldn’t wish similar circumstances on anyone else, a series of family accidents and health emergencies over several years leads them to offer the assurance that in times of crisis, trained and capable emergency workers are on the job and ready to serve.


“We have benefited from the skilled and caring people who are on hand to help when the unexpected happens,” said Dea. “We are so fortunate to have the health services and support that exist here - it’s great.



“Every single staff member and EMT we’ve encountered is so dedicated, at any time of the day or night, and we’ve had a lot of experience with the ambulance crew.”


For instance, Dea’s late mother, Ruth Hein, suffered nine strokes during the last six years of her life.


“We had to call the ambulance six different times,” shared Dea. “They always helped us get her to the hospital safely and get her the care she needed.


“The staff was responsive and reassuring, not only to her but to us as her caregivers. And it always amazed me how fast they arrived.”



In late March, Dea (whose friends tell her she is “accident prone”) had a freak mishap while doing nothing more than taking her daily walk with Wayne at the Worthington Area YMCA.


“I slipped on a yoga mat and my feet went out from under me - and I landed on my wrist,” reported Dea.


Dea’s left wrist - her distal radius - was shattered into 30 pieces of bone, and Dea went into shock.


“I was shivering, I wasn’t making sense verbally, so the ambulance crew was called and they came very quickly,” she related. “They stabilized my arm - my wrist was hanging at a really strange angle - and they hooked me up to an IV with pain medication and told me what they were doing every step of the way.



“It was such a comfort knowing they were there doing what needed to be done.”


Added Wayne, “The EMTs were outstanding and took care of her so well right on the spot.”


Ultimately, Dea was hospitalized for three days, due to surgery that involved a plate and 11 screws being inserted into her wrist, and resulting complications such as low blood pressure and a negative reaction to certain medications.


But the emergency incident for which the Klumpers are best known is one that could have ended in far greater tragedy.


On June 25, 2013, Wayne was riding his motorcycle south on Crailsheim Drive. He had visited his parents at Crossroads Care Center earlier and, uncharacteristically, was not wearing his helmet.


“For some reason, I didn’t have it on that day,” Wayne remarked. “I was just taking a short trip in and out of town.”


A driver in front of him, unfamiliar with Worthington’s roadways, made a sharp U-turn directly in the lane of traffic, and Wayne’s motorcycle hit the right rear of the van as he swerved, hoping to avoid impact.


It was a hot afternoon, and when Wayne was thrown from his seat he landed on the sizzling asphalt, suffering injuries ranging from “road rash” to broken facial bones, a broken collarbone, a broken clavicle, broken and dislocated ribs and major head trauma, among other wounds. In addition, his right eye was “very traumatized,” according to Dea.


When Sanford ambulance crew members Tom Lemke and Bob Miller arrived at the scene, Lemke didn’t recognize the victim as Wayne, with whom he had long been acquainted.


“They realized who he was when they found Wayne’s billfold,” said Dea.


Recounted Wayne, “I don’t remember the accident, but I know they took great care of me and got me to the hospital quickly.”


Once there, the emergency room staff assessed Wayne.


“They knew there was no chance they could do the things there that needed to be done for me, so they put me in the ambulance again and sent me to Sioux Falls,” Wayne said.


“They did an excellent job, and to the best of my knowledge the people who helped me, both here and in Sioux Falls, are skilled people who did outstanding work to keep me alive.”


Dea recalled, “The Sanford Worthington emergency room staff worked fast and hard to get Wayne ready for the trip to Sioux Falls. There were a lot of people trying very hard to save his life, and it wasn’t looking good at that point.”


After about five weeks in a coma, followed by months of rehabilitation and therapy, Wayne has recovered enough to continue many of the activities he enjoyed prior to his accident. He serves as a substitute teacher, cares for animals and does some farm chores at the couple’s acreage on the outskirts of Worthington, advocates for motorcycle safety, regularly walks and, above all, spends as much quality time as possible with his family.


“Every time we’ve needed an ambulance and emergency care, they’ve been there to help,” said Wayne. “Our family says the local crew are top-grade EMTs and ambulance personnel capable of doing good stuff.


“It’s great to know they’re there, and we’re really lucky to live in a community with such a good hospital and staff,” he continued. “I appreciate them both as friends and professionals, and they’re people who can help make a life-changing improvement at the split second they need to.”


Dea is thankful that the skilled emergency care Wayne received kept her husband alive.


“The neurosurgeon at Sioux Falls initially told us he didn’t think Wayne’s injuries were survivable, and it would have been easier for them to give up, but they didn’t - they kept working on him,” expressed Dea.


“Between them and God, it’s been a blessing for sure.”


Today, both Wayne and Dea urge motorcyclists to exercise caution and follow all safety guidelines.


“People still may die from motorcycle accidents even when they’re wearing helmets, but in his case, a helmet certainly would have helped,” said Dea.


Added Wayne, “Anybody who rides a motorcycle without wearing a helmet is taking a very unnecessary risk and making a dangerous choice.


“Put your helmet on first, then start your motorcycle.”


With three grown children and several grandchildren to enjoy, Wayne is appreciative on a daily basis for the extended lease on life he was granted in part due to the aid of first responders, knowledgeable medical staff and a capable ambulance crew.


“Those people gave me some extra years of life,” said Wayne, “and the good Lord gave me a chance to be here for my grandchildren and wife - and I am grateful.”

Related Topics: HEALTH
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