‘Thanks for helping Ethan’Four-year-old Ethan Klinger is fine. That’s the message his mother, Shelly Klinger, brought to volunteer firefighters in the town of Superior Tuesday night.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Four-year-old Ethan Klinger is fine. That’s the message his mother, Shelly Klinger, brought to volunteer firefighters in the town of Superior Tuesday night.
The last time firefighters Bob Zimmerman, Jeff Benson, Sarah MacDonald and Jon Freer saw Ethan, he was being loaded into a Gold Cross Ambulance at the scene of a fatal one-vehicle accident along County Highway A.
“Usually when we close the door to the ambulance, other than word of mouth in the county, we don’t have any idea what went on,” said Zimmerman, who is also a first responder.
Freer, also a first responder, said this is the first time someone has come back to let them know the outcome of their work.
“It means a lot,” he said.
Since the accident on July 24, Klinger has fielded a lot of calls about Ethan’s condition.
“Everybody’s been asking me about it,” said the Foxboro woman. “Now at least it’ll get out there.”
Killed in the accident was Ethan’s father, Warren Klinger. The 4-year-old was found standing out in the field near the rolled-over truck, according to a Douglas County Sheriff’s Department report.
Ethan suffered a small brain hemorrhage and a lung contusion, Klinger said. He spent three days in the pediatric intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth and one day in the pediatric unit, cared for by Dr. Elizabeth Kelly and Dr. Rahul Aggarwal.
“By the fourth day he was bouncing off the walls,” Klinger said, and she brought her son home. Although he does have some medical follow-up appointments, he’s going to be OK.
The firefighters could see Ethan was doing well, despite a sudden bout of shyness Tuesday night.
“Typical 4-year-old,” said Benson with a smile.
The volunteers said that at the scene of an accident, they concentrate on what they have to do – in this case, getting everyone out of the vehicle who needs to get out. Once the adrenaline rush dies down, however, things sink in.
“You think about what just happened,” Benson said. “Then it’s hard.”
Klinger works for St. Mary’s Hospital of Superior. While she deals with medical issues daily, this is the first time she’s seen the first responder end of a medical call.
“I’m glad they were there because I wasn’t able to get there,” Klinger said. “It gives me peace of mind that somebody was comforting him, even if it couldn’t be me.”
Although she appreciates the part first responders play in the medical system, Klinger said she hopes to never see that side of it again. But she did want to give the volunteers who were there for her son a sense of closure and a heartfelt message.
“I just wanted to say thanks for helping Ethan,” Klinger said.
The Foxboro woman also passed on her thanks to the Emergency Room staff at St. Mary’s in Duluth, John Koop from Gold Cross Ambulance and nurse Dawn Bowman, who stayed with Ethan until his family arrived at the hospital.