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NE first responders honored for acting quick during stroke episode

NE Stroke Hero Award given to OFD members
Posted at 6:34 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 19:34:32-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Thanks to a quick response from his wife and an Omaha emergency crew, 50-year-old Tom Schafer is still alive.

In late March, Schafer was laying in bed when he noticed his brain go blank. He said he knew immediately that he was having a stroke.

Luckily, his wife realized and immediately called 9-1-1 and an Omaha Fire Department crew arrived quickly and was able to determine the proper plan of care.

Today, Schafer is fully recovered and was able to honor those that saved his life, Eric Larson and Don Whittington. The pair received Nebraska Medicine's Stroke Hero award.

“We see it al the time to certain degrees,” said Whittington. “This was a serious stroke, very serious and so it was something that we knew the required immediate attention, not that we don't provide that to everybody. Time was critical...let's just put it that way.”

“I get a second chance and I’m fully recovered and I can go on but it makes you think of all the things that could've happened,” Shafer said. “The outcomes I could've had if I hadn't got such a quick response and quick care at the Med Center."

Schafer also thanked his wife for her quick actions.

Neurologists say that acting fast is crucial and can make all the difference when someone is suffering from a stroke.