Platte Valley paramedic Dave Christenson faces heart failure

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Dave “Festus” Christenson has helped people for decades. Now he’s the one who needs help.

BRIGHTON, Colo. — A Platte Valley Ambulance Service battalion chief who has saved countless lives is now in the ICU with heart failure. 

Dave Christenson was suffering shortness of breath before he went to the doctor and found out he had heart failure. The acting chief paramedic, Chris Mulberry, said this came as a surprise, since he is pretty active. They are supporting him through this change, and are waiting with open arms for him to come back.

“I think a lot of times when we get into doing this business we almost have like that immortal feeling, in a way,” Mulberry said.

In an instant, that can all change. 

“And then when it does, it’s hard, because we also see our own mortality with it, and then, so that brings in fear,” Mulberry said. 

They fear because a beloved friend, coworker, paramedic, husband, dad and grandpa, is now in the cardiac ICU. 

“Dave Christenson, he also is known by ‘Festus,’” Mulberry said. “He loves the name Festus. He prefers Festus over Dave.” 

Mulberry said Christenson has spent more than half of his roughly 40 years serving with Platte Valley Ambulance Service.

“He was at work and was doing OK. He left his shift and felt kind of short of breath, called his doctor, and they evaluated,” Mulberry said.

He said everything seemed fine. 

“He went back and discovered he was in severe heart failure,” Mulberry said.  

Less than a week later, Christenson took a turn for the worse. 

“They were at one point, a little bit concerned he wasn’t going to make it through the night,” Mulberry said.  

This came as a surprise to his coworkers, for an active guy always on the go. 

“He doesn’t like to sit still,” Mulberry said.  

But it came as no surprise that Christenson is already talking about getting back to work.

“He’s out of the critical kind of stage, the unfortunate part with heart failure. It’s going to require a lot of cardiac rehabilitation and could be a bit of time before he’s back out on his feet,” Mulberry said. 

Paramedics are used to helping others. 

“The things we do, with the stress of our jobs, that it brings us closer,” Mulberry said.  

That unbreakable bond is one thing Christenson’s coworkers want him to know will always stay the same.  

“Everyone here loves and cares about him,” Mulberry said. “And we look forward to seeing him.”

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Platte Valley paramedic Dave Christenson faces heart failure

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