Billings man reunites with paramedic who saved his life, shares - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Billings man reunites with paramedic who saved his life, shares appreciation for local EMS team

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Kently kuntz credits first responders, including Lynn Galavotti, for saving his life when he fell asleep at the wheel last November and collided with the back of a semitrailer Kently kuntz credits first responders, including Lynn Galavotti, for saving his life when he fell asleep at the wheel last November and collided with the back of a semitrailer
Kently Kuntz, 22, credits first responders for saving his life after he fell asleep at the wheel and collided with the back end of a semitrailer Kently Kuntz, 22, credits first responders for saving his life after he fell asleep at the wheel and collided with the back end of a semitrailer
Following 22 staples and 5 days in St. Vincent Healthcare, Kently Kuntz said he is back to work and even hiking after he collided his truck with the back of a semi Following 22 staples and 5 days in St. Vincent Healthcare, Kently Kuntz said he is back to work and even hiking after he collided his truck with the back of a semi

Driving was a large part of Kently Kuntz's day when he delivered sandwiches for Jimmy Johns. Now, the 22-year-old Billings man is thankful for local emergency medical responders delivering him to St. Vincent Healthcare when he fell asleep at the wheel last November and collided with the back end of a semi-truck.

"I was driving to go get my check from work," Kuntz recalled of the incident. "Everything was fine, and then the next thing I knew I was waking up in a pile of metal."

Lynn Galavotti said she was a part of the EMS team responding to the truck-versus-semi scene on Interstate 90.

"We were first on the scene because we were headed to Laurel," Galavotti said. "It was crazy, because I walked up and I didn't think anyone was going to be alive."

Galavotti said she then found Kuntz inside the truck around 5 p.m. on November 17, his body being crushed beneath the semitrailer. 

"There was serious trauma and lots of blood," Galavotti said. The paramedic said she and her team immediately sprang to action to stabilize Kuntz and protect him during the removal and transport process. 

St. Vincent Healtcare's Trauma Medical Director Barry McKenzie said first responders took the first steps in saving Kuntz life. 

"He was involved in a very serious crash with high velocity speed, high force, and significant injury," McKenzie said. "I always think of trauma care as a team aspect, and first responders are the start of the team."

Galavotti said it took about 40 minutes to get Kuntz from beneath the weight of the semi and transport him to the nearby hospital where he was treated for four compromised organs and other injuries that would have claimed the 22-year-old's life had responders not acted quickly. 

After 22 staples and 5 days in the hospital, Kuntz emerged from St. Vincent Healthcare alive and with a new appreciation for EMS responders. 

"I wouldn't be here if they weren't there," Kuntz said. "If they weren't able to cut me out, if they weren't able to do medical stuff to me in the field...there's no way I would have made it. I'm very thankful."

"Watching someone walk out of the hospital after they've been in a serious injury or you did CPR to bring them back, that's why we do our job," Galavotti said, expressing joy to see Kuntz smiling and returning to life as usual before his near-fatal collision. 

As March 21-27 marks EMS Week, KULR-8 News would also like to show our appreciation for local emergency medical responders who work to protect and save the lives of the people of our community. 

Hear Kuntz share his story and watch his reunion with the paramedic he credits for saving his life on the KULR-8 News at 10.

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