ALEXANDRIA, Minn. (WCCO) — If you have a health emergency, you want to see a doctor. But at Alomere Health in Alexandria, it was a custodian who helped save a doctor’s life.

“For about a week prior to that I had been having some issues, flu-like symptoms,” said Dr. Amos Szajner. It was the night of April 29, and because he’s a medical professional, Szajner decided to go back to the hospital and check himself out on a monitor.

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That’s the last thing he remembers.

Kendal Hofstad is a custodian with Alomere and just happened to be in that wing of the hospital picking up garbage. “I opened the door and I thought I saw from the corner of my eye some scrubs lying on the floor. I didn’t think anything of it,” Hofstad said. “I thought I better go over there and check it out and I did, and Dr. Szajner was on the floor, unresponsive.”

Hofstad called for help and after 12 long minutes of CPR, Szajner was helicoptered to CentraCare in St. Cloud, where a large clot was found in one of his main arteries. “He was initially showing very serious signs of brain injury and heart injury,” Dr. Daniel James Tiede said.

After putting in a stent, Tiede used a fairly new piece of technology called an Impella Pump to stabilize Szajner. It’s thinner than a pencil and takes over the job of pumping blood so the heart can rest. Within a few days, Szajner took a turn for the better.

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“I don’t know without the pump if Dr. Szajner would have survived,” Tiede said. “It’s almost miraculous.”

On Thursday morning, Szajner got a chance to thank everyone who helped save his life. He’s here because of a fellow doctor, a heart pump, and a heads-up custodian. “I’m real happy for him and I’m glad he’s doing real well,” Hofstad said.

“When this happened we became better friends, definitely,” Szajner said. “God is so great and gracious and blessed my family to have me around. I feel like every day is a present. It’s his gift.”

Szajner is an anesthesiologist and he’s back at work. He has been an avid rock climber in the past and plans to get back to that activity in the near future.

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He also wanted to thank the teams at Alomere and CentraCare that helped him.