John Kitzhaber, the once and maybe future governor of Oregon, got a chance to show his medical skills as well as his debating talent at a candidates’ forum on the University of Oregon campus Wednesday night.
According to the account of Kari Chisholm on the Blue Oregon blog, Kitzhaber was in the midst of a discussion with Bill Bradbury, his rival for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, when somebody in the audience called out: “Is there a doctor in the house?” (Honest, that’s what he said.)
Kitzhaber, a former emergency room physician, jumped off the stage and dashed down the aisle to help an elderly man who, according to a witness, had fallen to the floor and was “frothing blood at the mouth, having a real bad seizure.” Kitzhaber administered first aid, checking the man’s vital signs and making sure his airway was open until paramedics arrived.
The interruption lasted about 20 minutes. When it was over, according to the Eugene Register-Guard account, Bradbury complimented Kitzhaber on his coolness. “I think John has just shown that he was a remarkable emergency doctor,” he said.
But like the seasoned politician he is, Bradbury also took the opportunity to slip in a zinger, chiding Kitzhaber as “someone whose contributions, if returned to the governor’s office, would be limited to diagnosing the state’s ills. ‘We need a prescription for economic and environmental health, because it’s time for action,’ Bradbury said.”