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Nor-Lake employees act fast and save co-worker

Workplace teamwork by Dan Lee and Bob Deutsch of Nor-Lake along with former co-worker Tim Turner saved the life of co-worker Carey Dallman. The three recently received the Great Save Award, which recognized their lifesaving efforts from the Heart2Heart program sponsored St. Croix EMS and Rescue, Hudson Hospital and Clinics. Pictured from left are St. Croix EMS Chief Eric Christensen, honorees Lee and Deutsch, cardiac arrest survivor Dallman and Karen Hansen of the hospital. Photo by Meg Heaton

Bob Deutsch and Carey Dallman were having lunch as usual last Aug. 21 in the break room at the Nor-Lake plant in the town of Hudson when something very unusual happened.

Both men have been employed in maintenance by Nor-Lake for more than 30 years. Deutsch says he doesn't like to recall the day that often, but remembers clearly what happened.

"We were just sitting finishing our lunch when he (Carey) just kind of got this stare on his face. Nothing unusual, kind of like when you day dream. But then he started to slump over and I knew something was wrong," said Deutsch.

He quickly went to Dallman and tried to prop him up off the floor, then ran to the doorway to yell for help. He returned to Dallman's side and held him up off the floor until more help arrived.

Dan Lee of Hudson works in maintenance at Nor-Lake like Deutsch and Dallman. He usually wouldn't be in that part of the plant but on that day he was there to attend to a job he'd put off doing. He was near the break room when he heard the call for help. Another Nor-Lake employee at the time, Tim Turner, also responded. Another called 911.

Lee, who had emergency training including CPR and the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator), remembered the "ABCs" and checked Dallman's airway, breathing and his chest. "Then I just started CPR and Tim ran to get the AED." He said he wondered what it would be like if he ever had to use the training he had received and admits to a few panicky moments, wishing he "had paid better attention in class," but then the training kicked in.

"It was pretty hectic and scary but after I just told myself to calm down and do what needed to be done, it was OK," said Lee.

With Deustch and Turner at Dallman's side, Lee followed the step-by-step audio instructions of the AED. "You really can't make a mistake. The instructions are very clear and it won't let you do anything (administer a shock) if everything isn't right. I just kept telling myself to stay calm and do what the thing said."

Lee said they shocked Dallman once before EMS personnel arrived, and he continued CPR. EMS was at the plant in less than five minutes. Dallman had to be shocked by the ambulance crew twice more before he arrived at the hospital. EMS Chief Eric Christensen said the actions of his co-workers before the ambulance arrived saved Dallman's life.

Dallman, who lives in River Falls, has no memory of the incident or of the two or three days afterward. He had no history of heart disease, and the incident came as a complete surprise. He has made a complete recovery.

"I'm just grateful they did what they did," Dallman said.

Deutsch, who lives in Menomonie, said the memory of the day still haunts him a little, even though the outcome was good.

"I felt kind of paralyzed during that first moment I realized something was really wrong, but it's a good feeling to know that what you did helped. It was important that everybody knew what to do."

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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