Spanish Fork man has emotional reunion with first responders who saved his life
Mar 4, 2022, 6:28 AM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 9:45 pm
SPANISH FORK, Utah — A man is publicly thanking those who saved his life after he collapsed inside his own home and nearly died.
“There was no life in me, no blood flowing, no breathing,” Clint Smith told KSL TV.
Smith barely recalls what happened on Dec. 21, other than he started the day running errands.
What happened at the house was a blur, but it remains extremely vivid to Smith’s wife, Sena.
“He was kind of dawdling around and I told (my granddaughter) to go tickle ‘papa’ and so she went around and then she came back and I’m like, ‘did you get to tickle him?’” Sena Smith recalled. “So I went over and I found him and he was down and he was purple and I told her to go and get her daddy.’”
Their son, Smith said, was downstairs and immediately scrambled to the refrigerator, where his dad was unconscious on the floor.
“(He) tried to get him to come to and he finally with all of his strength rolled him over and started the CPR and I was on the phone with 911,” Sena Smith said.
At that point — well before the ambulance arrived — a knock came at the front door.
“(He) said, ‘I know CPR and I got the alert’ and I’m like, ‘Yes, go that way,’” Smith said.
The man, an off-duty EMT with the Spanish Fork ambulance service who lived nearby and had received a notice on his phone, rushed over to the Smith home and immediately began taking over CPR efforts.
“I was not expecting someone so fast and being so willing to help a stranger just come up to a strange house and make himself available to us,” Smith said. “I thought, ‘angel,’ right off the bat.”
The compressions went on for about 14 minutes, according to the family, and were soon joined by first-responders.
“The things were running through my mind like, ‘What do I do? What will I do now if he’s gone?” Smith said. “We know every minute matters when someone is not breathing.”
According to officials, medics and police additionally shocked Clint Smith multiple times to bring back a pulse.
Smith was transported to Mountain View Hospital ER, where Dr. Mark Bair sedated and intubated him and placed him on a ventilator.
Once in the ICU, officials said Smith once again went into a fatal arrhythmia and a medical team brought him back again.
As his condition improved, Smith was transferred to Timpanogos Regional Hospital, where doctors discovered the condition affecting him and placed an internal defibrillator in his chest.
“They said I had ventricular defibrillation,” Smith said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “You die within minutes if somebody doesn’t find you.”
Sena Smith said her husband had not had the opportunity to meet those who saved him and to thank them for what they did until Tuesday evening when the Smiths showed up to a meeting of the Spanish Fork City Council where the first-responders were being recognized.
A hospital representative referred to Clint Smith as their “Christmas miracle,” and Smith grew emotional when it became his turn to speak at the podium.
“The first guy we called an ‘angel’ — no idea who he was, he just comes walking up from the north on the sidewalk, knocked on the door and my wife didn’t even know who he was, just let him in and (he) took over for my son,” Smith said. “Very thankful for him getting the process started.”
Smith said there was “a lot of ugly in the world today” and it was nice to see people like the off-duty emergency crew member, identified in the meeting as Taylor Banks, go out of their way to help others.
“Taylor didn’t have to come up the street — he could have ignored that call,” Smith said. “The EMS crew responded in such a timely manner.”
He said for the ambulance to get from his home to Mountain View Hospital in Payson in seven minutes was “pretty amazing.”
“I’m grateful to the EMS and the police officers, to the doctors and to my family for giving me a second chance at life,” Smith said with tears streaming from his eyes as he addressed those at the council meeting.
Along with Bair and Banks, those recognized before the council included EMTs Bryant Wood, Spencer Byrne, Spencer Bradford, Kristopher Gruber, Kristina Reid, Ryan Baum and Josie Nielson as well as officers Bryan DeWitt, Owen Leifson, David Bowen, and Dallas Smith.
Sena Smith said what happened that December day was some combination of “lucky, blessed, miraculous, angels — all of it.”
“I’m very grateful for everyone’s efforts,” Clint Smith said.