John Kitzhaber has some notable political advantages heading into his re-election this fall to an unprecedented fourth term. Now he has added rescuing a woman in distress.
As first reported by KGW-TV, Kitzhaber was on his way to dinner in Portland, saw a woman lying on a sidewalk and ordered his driver to pull over. The former emergency room doctor administered CPR to the unconscious woman and ordered his driver to call for paramedics who arrived minutes later and used a defibrillator to restart the woman's heart.
The unidentified woman was taken to OHSU and is reportedly out of serious danger, the Portland Fire Bureau told The Oregonian. Emergency responders credited Kitzhaber with possibly saving the woman's life. The first six minutes after someone's heart stops are critical to their survival, emergency personnel said.
The paramedic who worked alongside Kitzhaber said it was "pretty neat" to see the governor calmly aiding the woman. He said it was surprising to be working with a governor on a rescue mission.
This isn't the first time Dr. Kitzhaber has gone from politician to physician in an instant. The Oregonian recalled how Kitzhaber leaped from a podium during a political event four years ago to aid a man experiencing a seizure. Kitzhaber has grabbed his medical bag more than once at the Capitol to assist lawmakers and visitors in distress. In 2005, Kitzhaber chased an intruder at his Portland office and trapped him in the revolving door of a nearby bank.
None of these exploits could be planned, but they have accumulated over time and added to the Kitzhaber legend, making it even harder for his opponents, in the past or now, to find his Achilles heel.