Retired firefighter-EMT survives life-threatening infection

Tom Laumann was diagnosed with pneumonia with sepsis after suffering back spasms and a dry cough and became unable to breathe

By EMS1 Staff

WALES, Wis. — A retired firefighter-EMT found himself on the other side of an emergency when he was diagnosed with a life-threatening infection.

TMJ 4 reported that Tom Laumann, who worked as a volunteer firefighter for 13 years and an EMT for 12, began having back spasms and a dry cough before it quickly escalated into an inability to breathe.

“I couldn’t inspire air and take a breath, and that’s what scared me,” Laumann said.

Laumann said it was “surreal” when he ended up in an ambulance after his wife called 911 for help.

“[I always thought] it’ll never happen to me. Almost like an adolescent male who plays sports, [I thought], ‘I’ll never get hurt,’” he said.

Laumann was diagnosed with pneumonia with sepsis, and said he never thought his biggest battle would be for his life.

“We joke with it, dancing with the devil and I got away from the devil I came out of the fire service relatively intact physically, mentally intact,” he said. “And to be at that point where a disease brings me to the point where I am really sick, I could have been on the wrong side of the outcome and not be alive.”

Twenty-nine days after surgery, Laumann participated in a 9/11 memorial stair climb with his family. He will return to work next week.


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