Nye collapses after contentious meeting

Mild stroke sends alderman to hospital

Shortly after the Jan. 15 Dillon City Council meeting, Councilperson Dan Nye collapsed onto the sidewalk in front of City Hall. Nye, 58, suffered what was eventually determined to be a mild stroke.

Nye was first transported to Barrett Hospital and HealthCare and then taken by air ambulance to St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula.

Nye, Dr. Michael Klakken, George Warner and John Plutt Jr., were conversing when Nye’s left leg buckled.

“My left leg started twitching and I couldn’t hold myself up and I went down,” recalled Nye. “They tried to get me back up and I kept listing to the left and they finally decided to put me back down. The left side of my body went numb at that point.”

An emergency 911 call was made and a Dillon Police Department patrol car was almost immediately on scene. The officer administered oxygen. In short order an ambulance from Beaverhead Emergency Medical Services arrived and transported Nye to the Dillon hospital.

Nye said he was aware of what was going on around him, but he struggled with his communication skills.

“I couldn’t speak right, which is a strong indication of a stroke,” said Nye.
At Barrett Hospital, a CT scan was ordered.

“They could see the blood and it wasn’t long after they decided to call in Life Flight,” said Nye. “They took me to Missoula as a precaution, just in case it was a hemorrhage.”

Nye arrived in Missoula at about 2 a.m. Thursday and he says that he had started to regain his left side motor skills and that his speech had improved.

“The neurologist reviewed the CT scan and decided at that point that I didn’t need to have (brain) surgery,” recalled the councilperson. “If it was hemorrhaged, they would have done surgery to control the bleeding. At that point, they thought that I would be okay.”

By 4 p.m. Thursday, Nye was transferred from the Intensive Care Unit to a regular hospital room. At noon on Friday, he was released from the hospital and returned to Dillon.

Nye says the doctors described his ailment as a hypertension stroke. WebMD describes a stroke as a “brain attack,” that occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can be induced by stress.

Shortly before collapsing, Nye had participated in a controversial council meeting in which he was the only member of the six-person group to vote for both of Mayor Klakken’s two new political appointees. While his view differed widely from his fellow council members, the majority of a standing room only crowd attending the meeting were vocal in support of Klakken’s ability to appoint his administrative team.

“I’m not saying that I voted for Mike or against Mike, but my feelings are, he is the new mayor and you try to work with him,” said Nye on Monday. “He has every right to pick who he needs to work with. I feel we should give him that right.”

Nye says that the doctors in Missoula felt he could return to his regular routine, which includes his participation in city government.

“I actually enjoy being on city council because I think I can help with things,” said Nye. “It depends on what my doctor here (in Dillon) tells me. If he tells me I should probably stay away from it, that is what I’ll do.”

Nye praised the quick response and professionalism of the Dillon Police Department, Beaverhead EMS, and Barrett Hospital during his health scare. He regrets not taking earlier warnings of high blood pressure serious enough to pursue treatment through medication, and agrees with his doctors that he was lucky.

“Whether that night caused it or not, I don’t know,” said Nye of the council meeting and the mild stroke that followed. “I’m sure it had something to do with it. I just felt that they didn’t give