Local woman saves man’s life on flight home from vacation

Jill Holmstrom is a professor of nursing at MSUM
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 7:15 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -

When nursing professor Jill Holmstrom went to visit her parents in Florida she wasn’t expecting to be on call. But, when a medical emergency was announced during her flight home to Fargo, she was called into action.

Holmstrom was traveling alone with her 18-month-old grand-daughter, so she was initially hesitant to volunteer when the flight attendants asked for help from a medical professional.

“When the flight attendant turned around I could see the panic in her eyes so I knew that it must be something serious,” explains Holmstrom.

The flight attendant offered to care for Holmstrom’s grand-daughter while she went to help another passenger.

“As soon as I did my 30 second assessment I turned to the flight attendant and said ‘we need to land and we need to land now’ because I knew what was going on was nothing that we could handle or had the equipment, medications, or supplies for in the air,” Holmstrom says.

It took the plane about an hour to make an emergency landing. Holmstrom remained with the man; who was now her patient.

“Even though it was uncertain if he could hear what I had to say, it was important for me, for him to know somebody was with him, that he was going to be receiving care,” she says.

The flight made its emergency landing in Atlanta where the man received further emergency care from EMTs and was transported to the hospital.

She didn’t get his name, but as far as Holmstrom knows, he’s going to be okay.

“It would be nice to see him and to see how he’s doing and just you know, tell him that I was happy to be in the right place at the right time,” says Holmstrom.

Holmstrom’s grand-daughter also had a star performance on the flight and earned her own set of wings.

Thanks to smartphones, it’s now possible to make a medical ID for yourself to be used in emergency situations. You can find directions to set up the medical ID for the iPhone and Android by following the links attached.