Senator taken out of capitol in critical but stable condition

Posted at 2:18 PM, Mar 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-12 19:13:55-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Emergency responders took Utah Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, out of the Utah State Capitol on a stretcher Wednesday afternoon.

Jasen Asay, Salt Lake City Fire Department, said paramedics transported Okerlund to University Hospital, and when they reached the emergency room Okerlund was in critical but stable condition and was conscious.

Although it isn't clear what type of medical issue Okerlund was affected by Wednesday, he has a history of heart trouble.  Responders were heard talking about myocardial infarctions and a previous bypass.

Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Salt Lake City, also came to Okerlund's aid. Shiozawa is an emergency room doctor.

Okerlund's family released the following statement Wednesday evening:

"Ralph is alert, stable and doing well. He is in good spirits and already joking about coming back and finishing his bills. He said, “I’d go back right now if they’d let me.”

That probably won’t happen. Hospital personnel need to finish some tests and we don’t expect he will return to the Capitol today or tomorrow.

We are deeply, deeply grateful for the prayers offered on Ralph’s behalf. We are also very thankful for the capable reaction and care of his colleagues in the legislature and emergency response personnel.

For the next few days, we ask that media calls and legislative requests be routed through the senate office.

Thank you for your love and concern for our family."