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Saving the life of one of their own: A State Patrol blood run

June 5, 2017

Lisa Jaeger and Col. Matt Langer with three state troopers standing behind them.
Photo: Lisa Jaeger and Col. Matt Langer tell the harrowing story of how the three Minnesota State Troopers behind them (Troopers Jacob Letourneau, Jesse Einhorn and Dau Yang) saved Lisa’s life with a blood run when she was hemorrhaging after delivering her son Ryan.

When you work someplace for ten years, you get pretty familiar with all the things they do. Take the Minnesota State Patrol, for example, where Lisa Jaeger has worked for the past decade, managing their fleet of squad cars. She’s pretty much seen it all — she once even went on a ride-along that involved a blood run, when troopers brought life-saving blood as quickly as possible to someone who needed it.

Lisa Jaeger with husband Brent and their baby Ryan.
Photo: Lisa Jaeger wouldn’t be here with husband Brent and baby Ryan if it hadn’t been for the State Patrol blood run that saved her life after a hemorrhage during a routine Caesarian section.​

But there’s a difference between knowing what troopers do and having your own life depend on it. Lisa says she “never thought in a million years” she’d be on the receiving end of a blood run – but that’s exactly where she was on May 18, when she started to hemorrhage during a Caesarian section to deliver her son Ryan.

Lisa could hear everything going on in her room at the Mayo Clinic in Red Wing, but she wasn’t responding. “I remember the doctor saying, ‘Turn your head, wake up, look at your son!’ And I thought that I was, but I wasn’t.” That’s because Lisa had lost three liters of blood. So the hospital called the Red Cross, who in turn called the State Patrol — and that’s when Troopers Jesse Einhorn, Jacob Letourneau, and Dau Yang leapt into action, relaying the blood Lisa so desperately needed from St. Paul to Red Wing in much less time than it would take a private citizen to make the journey.

In fact, Lisa’s doctor later told her that had it taken just a few minutes longer for the blood to arrive, she might not have survived. And although Lisa was terrified, she also felt reassured when she heard her doctors say they were ordering a blood run: “Oh, I bet that’s the troopers that are running that blood down here,” she remembers thinking. “I knew at the time that in the troopers’ hands, that blood was going to make it there, and it was going to make it there as quickly and as safely as they could get it there. I have a lot of confidence in the troopers.”

And although making a trip like that was dicey in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, Colonel Matt Langer says blood runs are business as usual for the State Patrol. “It’s something that troopers are good at and they train for, and it’s a big part of our agency: When someone calls for help, we come as fast as we can get there,” Langer says, citing 34 blood runs so far this year. “It’s something we’re very proud of.”

It was halfway through that the troopers realized they were making this blood run to save the life of a fellow State Patrol employee. “When I found out that it was one of our own, it made it a lot more personal. I’m recently married; I thought about my wife and if she had a child and needed the blood…it made it very personal,” says Trooper Letourneau. He’s not sure how fast he was going, just “as quick as I could, without bringing harm to myself or anyone else.”

“There are no words for how grateful I am for everyone and everybody that helped me out along the way: the doctors, the nurses, the troopers, the people that donate the blood, everyone,” says Lisa. “I am so, so grateful.”