Last night, Rep. Edmund Kuempel collapsed in an elevator in the Capitol tonight and was taken to Brackenridge Hospital in Austin.
El Paso Times Reporter Brandi Grissom detailed the events last night in real time via twitter:
As Grissom wrote in detail later that night, the evening was filled with emotion.
Sergeant at arms Jennifer Irvy said she found Kuempel collapsed in the elevator and with a faint pulse.
“It scared the hell out of me,” she said.
Irvy said she called immediately for emergency help.
News of Kuempel's condition spread quickly through the House, and brought business to a standstill. Legislators, staffers, lobbyists and reporters gathered on the first floor near the elevators waiting for news on the 66-year-old legislator's condition. State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, paced the hall, giving hugs to others and at points was in tears.
State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, led those gathered in the hall in a prayer for Kuempel and his family after he was taken away in an ambulance.
Rep. John Zerwas, an anesthesiologist, aided Rep. Kuempel until medical crews arrived on the scene.
Corrie McLaggan, of the Statesman, details what was done.
Zerwas said he oversaw CPR until EMS arrived. He said a defibrillator was used to shock Kuempel about eight times.
By the time Kuempel left for the hospital, he had a heart rhythm and a pulse, and though he was not breathing entirely on his own, he had “some spontaneous breathing,” Zerwas said. Zerwas said it could have been a primary cardiac event but could not say for sure.
Needless to say, our thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Kuempel, his family, and his friends and we join them in cautious optimism.
Update: From Quorum Report:
We do not normally intrude on a family's privacy during a medical crisis, but Rep. Edmund Kuempel has a special place in the heart of the Capitol community.
Word minutes ago from the hospital was that the Seguin representative was in stable but critical condition after what appears to have been a heart attack last night. He is on a ventilator in a medically induced coma and will be so for the next several days as physicians monitor his condition. They will know more as they bring him back up.
Physicians reportedly feel good about his prospects. They believe he was found and resuscitated in time. But nothing will be certain for several more days.