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Home > Topics > Community Awareness

Ore. governor does CPR on woman dying in street

The former ER doctor told his driver to pull over; she had started to breathe when medics took over, and is expected to survive

The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Oregon — Gov. John Kitzhaber performed CPR on an unconscious woman Monday evening in downtown Portland, assisting her until medics could arrive, say his spokeswoman and fire department spokesmen.

The governor, a former emergency room doctor, was traveling by car through downtown Portland about 5 p.m. when he saw "someone along the edge of the street who seemed to be attempting to resuscitate a woman" lying on the ground, Kitzhaber spokeswoman Nkenge Harmon Johnson said in an email to The Oregonian.

The governor told his driver to pull over, asked his security officers to call 911, quickly assessed the woman and began CPR, Portland Fire and Rescue Lt. Rich Chatman said.

KGW-TV first reported the governor's rescue effort.

The woman had regained a pulse but was not breathing when a fire truck arrived within about four minutes of the 911 call. At that point, the governor had provided her with an oxygen mask for rescue breathing, said Lt. Alan Ferschweiler, a fire department medic at the scene.

Medics took over her treatment. She had started to breathe "and make purposeful movements" by the time an ambulance arrived to take her to a hospital, Ferschweiler said. Her condition was not known late Monday night.

The medic described the woman as being in her 30s.

When the 911 call came in, medics were told "the governor's there and he's doing CPR."

"We don't always believe everything we're told until we see it," Ferschweiler said in a telephone interview. "It was great to see him do his work and help out when his services were needed."

Kitzhaber has rescued people before.

In 2010, while he was at a gubernatorial debate in Eugene, the forum was suspended for about 20 minutes after an audience member suffered an apparent seizure.

When someone asked if there was a doctor in the house, Kitzhaber rushed up the aisle to provide first aid.

He checked the man's vital signs and ensured he had an open airway until paramedics arrived.

Associated PressCopyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The 67-year-old Kitzhaber, a Democrat, was elected governor twice in the 1990s. He was barred by term limits from running in 2002, but made a political comeback and won an unprecedented third term in November 2010. He's running for a fourth term.

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Skip Kirkwood Skip Kirkwood Tuesday, May 06, 2014 3:10:58 PM Way to go John! Dr. Kitzhaber was once upon a time the EMS medical director, I believe for Douglas County FIre District #2 outside Roseburg.
Rj Reaper Naef Rj Reaper Naef Tuesday, May 06, 2014 4:04:51 PM WTG GOV
Tommy Stevens Tommy Stevens Tuesday, May 06, 2014 4:11:36 PM Strong work. The desire to help and the knowledge of how to do it is the best showing of human nature at its best. Thank you sir!!
Walter Waganka Walter Waganka Tuesday, May 06, 2014 5:41:26 PM Well done Oregon Governor Kitzhaber! You are truly a life saver!
Chad Bigley Chad Bigley Tuesday, May 06, 2014 5:45:18 PM These are the kinds of men and women we need in politics. Smart, caring, and quick to act.
Francisco Navarro Francisco Navarro Tuesday, May 06, 2014 8:55:14 PM Keep Portland Weird
Ryan Egan Ryan Egan Tuesday, May 06, 2014 10:41:50 PM SIRRRRR
Scott Henley Scott Henley Wednesday, May 07, 2014 12:00:03 AM Congradulations Gov.for ur willingness to make a difference!
Sandie DeMarr Hargrave Sandie DeMarr Hargrave Wednesday, May 07, 2014 8:07:43 AM great job!! I would certainly vote for a man this caring!!
Daniel McWilliams Daniel McWilliams Wednesday, May 07, 2014 3:50:04 PM way to go governor
Les Murrell Les Murrell Thursday, May 08, 2014 9:50:06 AM Great job Gov.! However, the writer of the story needs to get term correct. The woman was in cardiac arrest, not unconscious. A person who is unconscious is still breathing and has a pulse.
Laura Lant Laura Lant Friday, May 09, 2014 11:22:14 AM Thank you for what you did!

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