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The Texas House adjourned abruptly Tuesday night after state Rep. Edmund Kuempel, R-Seguin, was found collapsed in a Capitol elevator.
A House sergeant at arms, Jennifer Irby, said she had found Kuempel, 66, in an elevator about 10:30 p.m. It’s unknown how long he was in the elevator before he was found.
Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, an anesthesiologist who was called to help revive Kuempel.
Zerwas said that when he reached Kuempel, he was unresponsive, was not breathing and had no pulse. Zerwas said he oversaw CPR until EMS arrived.
Zerwas and paramedics used CPR and a defibrillator to resuscitate Kuempel, shocking him eight times before they established a steady pulse.
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.
Lawmakers in the House immediately adjourned upon learning of Kuempel’s collapse. They huddled, many crying, praying and waiting outside the Capitol elevator shaft where Kuempel was found.
He is reported, as of Wednesday morning,to be in stable condition but that the next 24 to 48 hours will be critical for him.
“There’s no question that I will be back on sine die, if I have any strength at all,” Kuempel said Monday.
“I feel good now — weak — but good,” he said. He jokes about returning to his birth weight after having lost so much weight in recent days.