Archived CMA Today - Spotlight
When tragedy strikes
Medical assistant tends to others in Minneapolis bridge collapse
By Cathy Cassata, AAMA Staff Writer
“I felt the ground shake and heard the metal twisting. It seemed like an explosion. Then it all went dark,” says Amy Lindholm, recalling the August 2007 bridge collapse over the
Lindholm was driving home from her medical assisting job, still dressed in her navy-and-tan scrubs, when the bridge split down the median. “I actually got off of work early. I guess it wasn’t my lucky day,” she says. But luckily for others, Lindholm was at the right place at the right time.
“When the dust cleared, I was staring down at water,” she remembers. “I decided that either I could help people or I could go into panic mode.” So she got out of her car, ran to the narrow end of the bridge gap, and tiptoed across. Instantly her training and instincts took over.
Lindholm went from car to car and person to person attending to injuries and calming down the hurt. “I found water from one of the construction workers and a towel in someone’s car,” she recalls. “So I started cleaning out cuts and eyes, and pulling out rocks to clear paths.” She kept mental notes of the injuries she witnessed so “when rescue crews came I told them who needed back boards, braces, water, and pointed out where some people might be stuck in their cars,” she says.
Instead of being rescued herself, Lindholm stayed behind to help. “Adrenaline really works,” she states. “I was going to jump in the water and try to save people.” But her wits came to and she helped within her capabilities. This was a smart decision, because a few days after the collapse, Lindholm discovered that she had a herniated disk. “It’ll be fine,” she says. “At that time, I just knew what I needed to do and did it.”
During Lindholm’s 11 years as a medical assistant, she only briefly worked at an urgent care center. She says her medical assisting training and experience gave her the courage to assist on the bridge. Lindholm now works for Edina Sports Health & Wellness—a family practice, sports medicine, and holistic clinic in
As an asthma sufferer, Lindholm frequented medical offices and hospitals. Over time she developed an interest in the medical field. “I just wanted to be one of those people who took care of other people,” she says. “My goal was to start off as a medical assistant and go on to get a nursing degree,” which she’s been pursuing on and off. “But right now I love my job so I’m going to stay where I’m at,” she adds. “Though I’ve also wanted to work in an ER or ICU—I like the rush.” We certainly believe that!