ER man recovering after brush with death

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Ed Kleehammer is on the road to recovery at cardiac rehabilitation with Laura Launstein, Occupational Therapist and ERMC Rehabilitation Manager.

Eaton Rapids resident Edward Kleehammer is on the mend after suffering from a heart attack earlier this spring.

Kleehammer, who drove himself to Eaton Rapids Medical Center (ERMC), has no recollection of what happened after he walked through the emergency doors. Three minutes after he arrived, he went into cardiac arrest. An emergency team consisting of John Fata, MD; Ibrahim Shah, MD; Angela Ackley, RN; Katie Ehlke, RN; Angela White, RN; Barb Parrott, RN; Sandy Stallard, RN; Dennis Mitchell, RT; Larry Lutz, MSN, CRNA; Heather Sholty, MA; and Clifton Copeland, MA immediately jumped into action.

Dr. Shah from the McLaren Cardiovascular Group was seeing patients in the ERMC Specialty Clinics when he heard the emergency code and responded.

“The emergency staff saved his life through excellent teamwork, quick thinking and acting, knowledge, and skill,” explained Angela Ackley, RN, ERMC Emergency and Medical/Surgical Manager. The team had to defibrillate Kleehammer 10 times and worked to stabilize him for an hour and a half before transferring him to McLaren Greater Lansing, where he had two stents placed in his heart to open his arteries.

“It’s a humbling experience to wake up after the fact,” remarked Kleehammer.

His wife, Lisa stopped back by Eaton Rapids Medical Center that evening on her way home from McLaren to thank and hug the staff.

“I went down and thanked everyone a couple of days after I got out of the hospital,” stated Kleehammer. “Everyone was surprised to see me. They told me I was pretty much dead for 20 to 25 minutes. It’s amazing that I have no brain damage.” He asked for some time to recover and gain back some strength before sharing his story.

Kleehammer is slowly but surely getting back on track with cardiac rehabilitation. He is very popular among hospital employees when he comes for his appointments.

“It was the biggest adrenaline rush I have ever experienced,” said Katie Ehlke, RN. “I was so happy we were able to save him, I was grinning the entire weekend.”

“This was a very rare instance where the patient actually survives cardiac arrest, and I am so proud of the staff for their work that day,” stated Ackley. “I have never been more proud to be a part of ERMC.”

“If this hospital hadn’t have been here, I’d be dead, and I know I’m not the only one,” noted Kleehammer. “I am grateful. There are no other words.”

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