Wessington Springs native helps save life in raceDr. Carl Dean reacted quickly when fellow runner collapsed during race Sunday.
By: Anna Jauhola, The Daily Republic
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Wessington Springs native had a hand in saving a life Sunday when a man collapsed during a 10-mile race.
Dr. Carl Dean, the chief resident of internal medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center, was also running in the 10-mile race of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon when he heard an alarming statement from a person on the sidewalk.
“At about mile four, I noticed there was someone lying down on the sidewalk and others gathering around him,” Dean said in an interview with The Daily Republic Wednesday. “Someone said, ‘I can’t feel a pulse,’ and at that point I ran over to see if they needed help.”
He said it was second nature for him to listen for comments like that, since doctors are trained to listen for codes in a hospital setting.
Dean and another man determined the collapsed man, who was also competing in the race, indeed had no pulse and was struggling to breathe.
Between Dean and the other man, they began chest compressions until a volunteer marathon medic arrived about a minute later.
The medic had an automatic external defibrillator, or AED. The men placed the pads on the collapsed man’s chest and administered one shock.
“The runner who collapsed woke up in seconds, had a strong pulse and told me his name and medical history,” Dean said.
When the collapsed man became conscious, the other man who stopped to help left, and Dean never learned his name. However, he did thank the man for his help in a short conversation.
“I’d like to say thanks again for helping out,” Dean said. “He had taken basic life support training the day prior.”
Dean went on to complete the race, saying he really had no choice.
“I was five miles from home and five miles from the finish line, so I figured I better finish it,” he said with a chuckle, although the morning was quite chilly.
Dean, a 1997 Wessington Springs High School graduate, comes from a long line of physicians, including his father, Dr. Tom Dean, a family practice physician in Wessington Springs.
The younger Dean graduated from the University of South Dakota in 2001 and from USD’s Sanford School of Medicine in 2009.
Dean said his father did not pressure him into becoming a doctor. Rather, Dean’s interest in the combination of applying science and technology drew him to the profession.
“And the opportunity to care for people,” he added.
Dean plans to continue serving at Hennepin County Medical Center and doing a fellowship in nephrology — the study of the kidneys — at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He hopes to treat patients with kidney disease and require dialysis or transplant.
Once he completes his fellowship, Dean plans to come back to South Dakota as a kidney specialist. Although he’d likely work at a larger hospital, he hopes the position will allow him to visit smaller hospitals if there is a need.
Dean emphasized he is not the only person who saved the collapsed man’s life during the race, even though he’s the only one getting publicly recognized.
“This is getting a lot of press, but EMS, firefighters, police officers do this every day,” Dean said. “The quick access to the AED is what saved his life. I’d like to thank the other people who helped out. I’m getting the recognition but they’re just as important.”