Community paramedicine pioneer dies after cardiac event
Kai Hjermstad was treated by first responders he had trained himself after collapsing in his garage
By EMS1 Staff
ELKO NEW MARKET, Minn. — A community paramedicine pioneer died Thursday after suffering a cardiac event.
KTSP reported that Kai Hjermstad, 62, was in his garage when he collapsed.
"It was shocking. He didn't have heart trouble," Hjermstad’s wife, Karen, said.
Karen said she called 911 and the first responders who came to treat him were familiar because Hjermstad had trained some of them.
Hjermstad helped create the community paramedicine program at Hennepin County Technical College, where paramedics were trained to prevent emergencies by targeting high-risk patients with no access to healthcare.
According to longtime EMS provider Dr. Mike Wilcox, nearly 300 community paramedics have been certified since the program’s inception in 2007.
The Kai Hjermstad Memorial Scholarship was created to honor Hjermstad by providing assistance to community paramedicine students.