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911 Dispatcher Helps Man Save His Wife's Life

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Twin Cities man says his wife would not be alive today if it were not for a 911 dispatcher's detailed instructions.

All signs pointed to a normal summer night at the Jesmers' Stillwater residence.

Jeanine and Chris Jesmer
Jeanine and Chris Jesmer (credit: CBS)

"Nothing out of the ordinary at all," Chris Jesmer said.

Chris and his wife, Jeanine, waited for their daughter to get home before heading to bed.

"Went to sleep, planning on getting up the next morning for work," Jeanine Jesmer said.

But hours before the alarm, a deep snore from Jeanine startled Chris. He nudged his wife, but it did not quiet her down. He rolled over to try to shake her awake, but Jeanine did not move.

"It was terrifying," Chris said.

He called 911 for help.

"Hi there, my wife is … you need to send an ambulance," Chris said in the 911 call.

The operator working the overnight shift in Washington County wasted no time, instructing him to lay his wife flat on the floor.

"Put you hand on her forehead and then tilt her head back, OK?" The dispatcher said. "I want you to push down firmly and you need to do it quickly, OK?"

They worked together for the next four minutes to keep the blood pumping through Jeanine's heart.

"I just need you to keep doing those compressions until someone is right there with you, OK?" the dispatcher said.

Lynn Sommer and Kelly Shingledecker Larson
Lynn Sommer and Kelly Shingledecker-Larson (credit: CBS)

Lynn Sommer and Kelly Shingledecker-Larson were on scene in five minutes.

"When we got there, she was what I would call 'dead with agonal breaths,'" Shingledecker-Larson said.

Jeanine was one of at least 50 cardiac calls Lakeview EMS will respond to each year.

"Even when ... the professionals arrived, it was still pretty scary," Chris said.

Doctors found no blockage in Jeanine's heart and no medical background for her cardiac arrest. She is a seemingly-healthy 57-year-old who was saved by CPR.

"Honestly, I think that that was the reason that she is here today," Shingledecker-Larson said.

And it was the reason Chris knew who he needed to meet. The Jesmers delivered a personal 'thank you' for what 911 dispatcher Julia Weegman had done a month earlier.

"Chris knew right away the minute he heard her voice," Jeanine said.

Weegman did not know until then if Jeanine even survived.

"They're a great family," Weegman said. "I'm so happy everything turned out well."

Julia Weegman
Julia Weegman (credit: CBS)

Weegman runs through CPR at least a few times a week in her line of work.

"That day when they contacted me, I'm like, 'Now I know why I'm really here and why I'm doing this job," Weegman said.

It was four minutes that reminded parties on both ends on the line what really matters.

"It does make you think about, you know, all the things you would miss out on, and I don't want to do that," Jeanine said.

She now has a defibrillator and is doing just fine.

Only 30 percent of people who go into cardiac arrest receive CPR from a bystander.

The American Red Cross recommends someone in every household be trained. It is easy to do with CPR classes, and there is even an app.

A new Minnesota law makes it mandatory for all high schoolers to learn CPR before graduation.

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