Mountain Biker Crashes on Trail, Saved By Off-Duty Doctor Who Performed Impromptu Tracheotomy

by Matthew Memrick
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A Minnesota mountain biker crashed on a trail recently, and an off-duty doctor saved him by performing an emergency Tracheotomy on him.

An experienced mountain biker named Todd was on a Crow Wing County trail when he crashed. The Eagan, Minn. corrections officer is a father. He did not provide his last name to TV reporters.

Todd said mountain biking is a “huge stress reliever” that helps with the “nature of his job.” He wears his helmet and takes proper precautions for the activity.

Todd took a nasty fall in a ravine, and by sheer luck, another rider came along. That rider was a doctor who could help.

“I mean, what are the odds?” Todd told CBS Minnesota from his hospital bed in Minneapolis.

Todd recalled landing on his stomach and “scooting up” on an embankment to sit. At some point, an obstruction entered his airway, keeping the man from breathing.

“I was starting to see white spots,” Todd said. “I’m like, ‘OK, this isn’t cool. … This isn’t normal.'”

Sheer Luck A Doctor Rode

Dr. Jesse Coenen, a Hayward, Wisc. emergency room doctor was also riding. The man said he also enjoyed the activity and happened “to be in that spot that day.”

While emergency officials attended to Todd, Dr. Coenen determined that the fallen mountain biker needed more help.

Coenen said he would have preferred not to do the risky surgery, “but we found ourselves in the situation where there’s not another option.”

When paramedics saw Todd in trouble, they urged Coenen to make an airway for the distressed biker. He did, saving Todd’s life at that moment. CBS said that Coenen had trained for the procedure but inferred it was his first time cutting in an actual situation.

Doctor, Patient Meetup

Soon, a helicopter took Todd to the hospital, where doctors treated him for TBI, or a traumatic brain injury. 

Todd had no memory of Coenan’s help but admitted he was fortunate. The officer told CBS of his wife and a 16-year-old daughter who’s in high school.

“It does really sink in,” Todd said of the near-death experience.

After hospital officials released Todd, the doctor met his patient through a CBS introduction via Zoom teleconferencing.

Todd thanked the doctor, admitting that he was still surprised to be alive and talking only ten days after the near-fatal accident.

“It’s great to know that you’re alive, to be honest,” Coenen said to Todd.

The mountain biker shared his gratitude with Dr. Coenen for the medical help, sending what he called the biggest “virtual hug” that’s known to anybody. 

During the meeting, both men said they would be open to a mountain bike ride in 2022. That way, Todd could ride knowing he’d have a friend and rescuer there just in case.

Outsider.com