Mike Myers (middle) stands in front of D&R Café with emergency medical technicians, Arlen Larson (left) and Zachary Lorton (right).

When every minute matters

June 21, 2019

Mike Meyers is thankful for many things that helped save his life during a medical emergency, especially being in the right place at the right time and the help of our local Sanford Bagley Ambulance Services.

Mike collapsed at his favorite local diner, the D&R Café, on February 15, 2014, during his morning coffee with his friends. The waitresses called an ambulance while restaurant patrons looked after Mike, who had suffered a heart attack.

“Luckily the ambulance and medical team were there fast,” Mike said. “I was dead on the floor, and they brought me back. After it was all done, the doctors said it was a 5 or 6 percent chance of survival. I was pretty lucky. The first responders were great.”

The ambulance took Mike to Sanford Bagley Medical Center where doctors determined he should be airlifted to Fargo for triple bypass surgery. As the ambulance rushed Mike to the helipad during a snowy winter day, his nephew and a few friends hurried to shovel off the landing pad for takeoff. Even though he doesn’t remember, Mike had two ambulance rides in one day.

Once Mike awoke from his surgery in Fargo, he found more than 30 of his friends and family members waiting on him.

“They were in Fargo in full force,” he said. “I’ve never felt so good. My wife, all the kids, grandkids, family, friends, nieces, nephews were all there.”

With a fleet of three ambulances, Sanford Bagley Ambulance Services serve all of Clearwater County, where more than 8,800 residents are spread across 1,000 square miles. Here, EMTs and paramedics travel on average 19 miles per 911 call and 78 miles per patient transfer. Mike said it is crucial to have a robust fleet of fully equipped, well-running ambulances.

“Response time is important,” he said. “I’ve had so many friends die because they weren’t at the right place or too far away. If I would have been at home working on my truck, they would never have found me in time.”

Mike said his wife, Joyce, also had a heart attack a year ago, and the Sanford Bagley ambulance sped her to Bemidji for care.

“We’ve both been through the gauntlet, and now both of us are feeling really good,” Mike said. He emphasized that local support for the Sanford Bagley Ambulance Services “saves lives.”

Costs to maintain the current ambulance fleet have increased drastically in the past year, and reliable ambulance services are so important for our community. Nearly half of Midwesterners are likely to end up in an emergency department each year. When emergencies happen, time is the difference between life and death for our families, friends and neighbors.

Your gift will ensure our team of medical experts can swiftly reach patients when every second counts. Thank you for partnering with us to expand local care and advance the work of health and healing.