Nearby AED and quick Sanford response saves MN man’s life

He says he's lucky there was an AED at his church council meeting

Mature man works out in mirror at Sanford Health cardiac rehab.

It was Monday evening. Marcia Bork’s birthday.

She, her son, and her grandkids were making a birthday dinner.

Her husband Don Bork, who had a church council meeting at the Luverne Christian Reformed Church that night, said he’d skip the meeting to eat and celebrate.

But, Marcia insisted he go, saying, “it’s just another day.”

So, he went.

It was a trip that saved his life.

‘He turned gray’

Eric Haan was at the church council meeting.

He said it was normal meeting, until Bork got up to speak.

“Don was speaking about a matter and he turned gray, white, and slumped over,” he recollected.

“A lot of us didn’t know at the time what was really going on, if it was a heart attack or stroke,” he added.

Turns out, he was having a heart attack.

“I’m sitting in my chair, and that’s the last I remember,” said Bork.

Find a doctor: Heart/cardiology specialists at Sanford Health

Haan said seeing everything happen firsthand was frightening.

“I hadn’t seen a dead person before, but when he went down, there was no life to him,” said Haan.

Luckily, one of the 56 AED’s in the Luverne area was located inside the church.

Haan didn’t really have time to think. He grabbed the AED, turned it on, and followed the instructions.

“It told you the steps of what it wanted to happen. We put the pads on, and it said it was ‘analyzing patient.’ Then, it said shock advised, so we gave him the shock.

“Shortly after that, he took a gasp of air,” said Haan.

A 911 call to family

After Bork gasped, Haan and the other church board members dialed 911.

Tricia Huiskes, an EMT for Sanford Health in Luverne, Minnesota, answered the call.

She also happens to be Don and Marcia Bork’s niece.

“On my way here, I knew it was my aunt and uncle’s church. It was playing in my mind. It was the right age for my uncle. But, I knew it was my aunt’s birthday, so I thought maybe he didn’t come to the church meeting,” she said.

Huiskes says when she and other EMTs get called for service, the main thing they think about is their job at hand. However, she couldn’t help but think, “what if it’s him?”

“When I walked in the doorway, the first thing I saw was him.”

‘So many times, it ends the other way’

Huiskes set her feelings aside and transported her uncle to the Sanford Luverne Medical Center.

He was transferred to Sanford Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls later that night. The next day, he underwent tests.

“Tuesday, they took me down for an angiogram, went up through my arm, and found the circumflex vein on the backside of my heart had a 99% blockage.

“They put in a stent, and by noon, I was back in my room. By two o’clock Wednesday afternoon, I was back home,” said Bork.

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Sure, it would’ve been nice for Bork to stay back and celebrate his wife’s birthday.

But if he had, he doesn’t know what would have happened.

“I’m just so thankful he went to church, because the outcome could have been totally different,” Marcia Bork said. “I’m glad the people that were here were here, and that the AED was here. And that he was able to come through this with flying colors.”

A wake-up call for all

Bork said he’s lucky to be alive.

And this was a wake-up call he hopes everyone would take seriously.

“I always considered myself healthy,” he said, “I’ve been to the doctor very few times in my life. I’d stress anytime you’ve got something that just doesn’t feel right, don’t blow it off or ignore it. You’ve gotta get it checked out.”

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Posted In Emergency Medicine, Heart, Luverne

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