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Off-duty cardiac technician gives CPR to customer in the checkout line

Woman kept man alive at a gas station long enough for medics to arrive.

Maddie Linder.jpg
In February, 2022, Maddie Linder was honored with Sanford's Hero for Community award.
Derek Zimmerman-Guyer / WDAY-TV

FARGO — A crucial reminder during American Heart Month about the importance of CPR.

It can be needed anywhere at any time.

A Fargo cardiac technician is sharing her story after she was called into action — actions that allowed a family to say goodbye to their loved one.

It was just another stop at a Fargo gas station for Sanford Health cardiac technician Maddie Linder in November 2021, until while waiting to checkout, the man behind her in line suddenly collapsed.

"At first, I was like, 'There's no way that he's actually in cardiac arrest,' and was kind of like, 'Maybe he just fainted, passed out,'" Linder said.

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She was also one day removed from completing her ACLS course, certifying her in high-quality CPR.

"I did a pulse check. There's nothing and then it kind of kicked in all this is what I've been training for," Linder

Her first time using CPR on an actual person in a real-life emergency felt different from using dummies.

"You get sore, you feel those rib cracks," Linder explained. "And (when) you feel the rib cracks, you know you're doing it right."

It was a moment Sanford Ambulance and people like clinical learning and development specialist Kristi Engelstad molded her for.

"The bystanders that perform CPR are usually not expecting to have to do that, so they're very surprised," Engelstad explained. "And it's sometimes difficult for them to process their feelings afterwards, it was very unexpected."

Trying to save a life on the spot, keeping him going long enough for the ambulance to get there, and let the family say goodbye.

"We try to tell people that perform CPR that they've done a really good job, they did the only thing that would maybe keep that person alive," Engelstad said.

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"It was a good feeling to know that I did save or have that chance let the family say goodbye to that person," Linder said.

Earlier in February, Linder was honored with Sanford's Hero for Community award.

Related Topics: FARGOSANFORD HEALTH
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