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Utah teacher saved by colleagues, students after heart stops in class

Published: Friday, Oct. 25 2013 10:30 p.m. MDT

Staker admits he didn't have much hope for Hunter's survival when he helped load her onto a medical helicopter for the flight to Salt Lake City. He had even less hope when he called University Hospital the next day and was told Hunter had been put on a lung bypass machine.

But Hunter, a competitive barrel racer despite her heart condition, has proven to Staker and everyone else just how tough she is. She is now off the lung bypass machine and is being weaned off the sedatives that kept her in a medically induced coma, her husband said Friday.

She even removed her breathing tube and asked her nurse if she could keep it out for a while, Josh Hunter said.

"She's getting better one baby step at a time, but I'm still amazed that we've come so far in eight days," he said.

Amy Hunter's family believes divine intervention put the right people in the right place at the right time to bring her back.

"This past week has been surreal," said her sister, Jodi Reinhardt. "We keep hearing about people who were there that day who weren't even supposed to be there.

"If Amy would have been driving, or if Amy had been in her office, or if Amy had been anywhere else at that time," Reinhardt said, pausing to regain control of her emotions, "she probably wouldn't be here with us."

Hunter has moved to the top of the transplant list because a new heart is the only thing that will save her life, her sister said. A benefit dinner and auction is set for Nov. 15 in Roosevelt to help offset some of the medical expenses.

Reinhardt said even if people cannot contribute, her family would like them to at least consider organ donation.

"There are families out there with people they love who will not live without (organ donation)," she said. "And I hope that families who let their loved one be an organ donor will know how much they are blessing and helping another family."

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com

Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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