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Quick action, defibrillator credited with saving life

Thanks to the quick response of a Mitchell police officer and others, a Sioux Falls man celebrated his 45th birthday a week after he nearly died.

“My doctor told me 99 percent of people this happens to don’t live through it,” Kyle Ziegler said.

Ziegler collapsed the morning of Nov. 14 at a construction site where he was working in front of Menards on Spruce Street in Mitchell. A 911 call was placed around 8:30 a.m.

Mitchell Police Officer Dan Fechner wasn’t far away and was the first emergency responder to arrive. He said one of the other construction workers was performing CPR on Ziegler.

Fechner quickly used an automatic external defibrillator, or AED, which detected an irregular heart rhythm and shocked Ziegler’s heart back into rhythm. Every Mitchell patrol vehicle has an AED.

A Mitchell ambulance crew arrived soon after, took over caring for Ziegler and transported him to Avera Queen of Peace Hospital. Ziegler was later transferred to Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls.

For his part in saving Ziegler’s life, Fechner was recently awarded a commendation by the Mitchell Department of Public Safety.

Chief of Public Safety Lyndon Overweg said the commendation was well deserved.

“He received the commendation for his fast work on this call,” Overweg said. “Along with that, the A shift did an outstanding job also — the ambulance crew, medics and firefighters.”

Fechner was surprised when he received the commendation late last week.

“It was pretty awesome,” he said.

Fechner’s AED training played a significant role in saving the man’s life, something for which Ziegler is grateful. Ziegler suffered cardiac arrest from an irregular heartbeat. His heart tried to correct itself, he said, but it didn’t start back up.

He was on the construction site with Van Buskirk Construction, of Sioux Falls, when he had to jump off a forklift to communicate with his co-workers. He knelt down to wipe dirt from a wall they were raising and when he stood up, he blacked out. His co-workers told him he looked dazed, like he stood up too fast, and then collapsed.

A co-worker started CPR immediately after finding Ziegler had no pulse, and another called 911. The CPR aided in saving Ziegler’s life.

Adam Decker, 30, of Sioux Falls, had last trained in CPR many years prior during grade school. He remembered the basics and did what he could.

“I did what I thought someone would do for me if I had a heart attack,” Decker said. “I did what I could until help arrived.”

Decker watched Ziegler collapse on the construction site. He checked Ziegler’s pulse on both his neck and wrist. When he couldn’t find one, Decker began chest compressions.

Ziegler was in the hospital for seven days and had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or ICD, implanted as a precaution.

“There was no blockage or anything,” he said. “There was nothing wrong with my heart as far as my doctor could tell.”

Ziegler is thankful for his co-workers’ speedy response and Fechner’s AED training.

Ziegler is back on the job and doing well, he said. It was a scary situation to be in, but he learned it is important to be current on CPR training. He said if people find themselves in a situation like that, they should do anything they can to help and at least know the basics of CPR.

Charity receives gold wrapped   in written note

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Two gold bars valued at more than $1,200 each were dropped in kettles in Sioux Falls, the Salvation Army said.

Charity spokesman Steve Cook told the Argus Leader one bar was dropped this week in a kettle wrapped in a note that read, “Bell Ringers are Special People.”

The other gold bar was dropped in a kettle in Sioux Falls about three weeks ago, he said.

The Salvation Army received $1,230 for the first gold bar, and Cook expects to receive a similar amount for second one.

It’s been at least two years since a donation of that value was made to the Salvation Army, he said.

“Were always hopeful for something like that,” Cook said. “We’ve had lot of people drops things of value in there and we take every donation serious because it goes towards helping those in need.”