RED WING, Minn.-A difficult baby delivery turned into a race against time to save the life of a Minnesota mother.
Lisa Jaeger, of Cannon Falls, Minn., experienced a massive hemorrhage while undergoing a cesarean section last month at Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing, and the crucial blood she needed was 45 miles away in St. Paul.
That is when Minnesota State Patrol troopers Jesse Einhorn, Jacob Letourneau and Dau Yang sprang into action.
The troopers formed a relay from St. Paul to Red Wing, rushing in their squad cars to hand off the box of blood. From the time the American Red Cross received the request to when the blood was delivered in Red Wing was just over an hour.
Thanks to their efforts, Jaeger and baby Ryan are now doing fine.
"I'm so grateful to be here, to be able to tell my story," Jaeger said at a news conference Thursday, June 1, in St. Paul. The three troopers from that day stood behind her as she spoke.
Jaeger said she went to the hospital May 17 and was in labor for 36 hours before doctors decided a C-section was the best choice. She remembers the birth and her husband, Brent, going over to see their firstborn, but then it became clear something was wrong.
"I remember the doctor saying, 'Turn your head, wake up, look at your son,'" she said. "I thought that I was, and I wasn't; I was not responding at all at that point."
Jaeger said she then recalls the chaos that erupted in the operating room.
"It was kind of bizarre, I could hear everything that was going on around me," she said.
All told she lost about three litres of blood.
When she overheard doctors ordering a blood run, Jaeger said she knew exactly what they were talking about since both she and her husband are on the Minnesota State Patrol staff. Jaeger said she even participated in a blood run ride-along for her job as a manager of the patrol's vehicle fleet.
"In my head I went, 'I bet that's the troopers that are running the blood down here,'" she said.
After the terrifying ordeal was over, Jaeger said she learned from a doctor that the usual time it takes to get blood from St. Paul probably would have been too long for her to have survived.
"We were that close," Jaeger said, adding, "I'm here because of a phenomenal team of doctors and nurses at the hospital, because of these three troopers and because of people that donate blood."
The State Patrol regularly conducts blood runs from Twin Cities blood banks as well as transports organs to hospitals on request.
"It's fairly common and something that troopers do, something that we're quite good at and proud to do" said Col. Matt Langer, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol.
There were 89 trooper relay runs in 2016 and 34 so far this year, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
The May 18 blood run was trooper Letourneau's third. He said finding out it was one of their own made this feel all the more personal.
"I thought about my wife and if she had a child and needed the blood," he said.