Monaco Coach Corp.’s Chris Lintner was in his office on Nov. 13 when he received the call that someone had fallen in Plant 6. As the EHS Coordinator at the facility in Elkhart, Ind., he’d had calls like it before, but on that day, for some reason, he took along a defibrillator, used to restore the pulse of heart attack victims.
“I hung up the phone and by the grace of God I grabbed it,” he said. “I’d never brought it before, but something told me to bring it.”
Five minutes later, that split second decision had saved someone’s life.
An employee had fallen because he’d gone into full cardiac arrest. “By the time I got there, his face was as blue as a blueberry, he had no pulse,” Lintner said. “As soon as I saw him we started to hook up the defibrillator.”
First Responder Jerry Ulmer was already on the floor with the victim, administering CPR. When the defibrillator was hooked up, Ulmer administered the first shock. Lintner then pumped the man’s chest while counting out to Floor Supervisor Willie Davis, who squeezed the oxygen bag.
Another shock was administered and when the paramedics arrived a few minutes later, the fallen employee once again had a pulse. He was taken to the hospital emergency room, where he stayed for 20 minutes before transfer to the cardiac lab, where he stayed for a week. He is now in stable condition and has been moved to a regular hospital.
Later that day, Lintner spoke with the paramedics who arrived on the scene. “I guess the doctor told them that what they had done with the defibrillator saved the man’s life,” he said. “They said, ‘No, we didn’t do that, they had already done that at Monaco.’”
The AED defibrillator program had been introduced at the Elkhart and Wakarusa, Ind., plants just two months before the incident, and all Monaco facilities now have the units. Lintner said the defibrillator gives heart attack victims the best chance of survival if administered within four minutes of arrest. “For every minute after that the victim’s chances decrease by 10%,” he said. “I think we got to him about three minutes and 45 seconds after he went down.”
Lintner reflects on his decision to bring the defibrillator with wonder.
“I don’t feel like a hero,” Lintner said. “I just feel really privileged that I was chosen to be there at that moment. It was kind of humbling to be the person who was there.”