Strengthening Emergency Services: how a 911 call changed the Fausts’ lives forever

When an emergency happens, first responders have minutes, sometimes seconds to save a life.

Just ask Peter and Gwen Faust of Lake Geneva. In 2014, Peter experienced a ripping-type of feeling in his back and sat down. “My wife was talking to her mother on the phone. She looked at me and asked what was wrong, and I wasn’t able to talk,” Peter recalls. Gwen called 911.

“Within minutes, the EMS volunteers were at the door,” Gwen shared. “They assessed the situation, took Peter’s vitals, and put him on a stretcher and took him to Aurora Lakeland Medical Center.”
Peter was diagnosed with an aortic dissection – a condition which has less than a 10% survival rate. Within minutes, he was taken by Flight for Life to Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, where a surgical team was ready waiting for him. Time was of the essence, and like clockwork, Peter received the help he needed with barely any time to spare. His surgery was successful, and about six months later, Peter was back to doing the things he loved.

“It’s all timing,” Gwen shares today as they celebrate five years since the incident. “You never know when you call 911 that it is truly going to be your lifeline. And I cannot stress how lucky we are in Walworth County… and how important it is to know the EMS personnel walking through our doors have the knowledge and know-how to help us, or anyone in our community when an emergency happens.” 

It’s a lifeline the Fausts’ depended on again after last year’s Benefit Ball.

“We were relaxing the Sunday after speaking at the event, when I started to feel a little funny,” Peter said. His blood pressure had skyrocketed… Peter even checked to see if the batteries on his monitoring device were bad. Once again, Gwen called 911.

Emergency responders arrived within minutes of calling 911, and after assessing him, took Peter to Aurora Lakeland again. Peter was stabilized. No true cause of the blood pressure spike was found, but the importance in strengthening our emergency personnel – especially those who are volunteers – is even a more powerful cause to the Fausts’ today.

“If they weren’t trained – and continue to be trained in the latest tools and information – I’m not sure my husband would be here today,” said Gwen. “That’s why I am so grateful and passionate to support efforts to strengthen our emergency medicine teams – from our volunteer paramedics to the emergency teams in our hospitals. We may seem to live in a more rural area, but because they are on top of their game, we can enjoy world-class care from the moment we call 911. And that can make a tremendous difference.” 

You can help provide continued training technologies to strengthen our emergency medicine partners, critical care and women’s health medical teams by being a part of our 2019 Benefit Ball, scheduled for Saturday, May 18. For tickets or to learn more, click, or contact Jolene Halvorsen at or 262.767.8290. or 262.767.8290.

Gwen and Peter Faust

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