Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber Gives Woman CPR, Possibly Saves Her Life

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber pictured last month at a meeting in Portland, Oregon.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber pictured last month at a meeting in Portland, Oregon. –AP

The quick-thinking governor of Oregon jumped to action on Monday night when he administered CPR to a woman lying unconscious on a downtown Portland street, according to reports.

The Oregonian reported that Gov. John Kitzhaber was being driven to an appointment when he saw “someone along the edge of the street who seemed to be attempting to resuscitate a woman.’’

The governor ordered his driver to stop, Harmon Johnson said, then "jumped out of the vehicle" and ran to the woman's aid to begin giving CPR. He directed one of his state police security guards to call paramedics, who took over from Kitzhaber when they arrived.

Kitzhaber is a former emergency room doctor.

Gov. John Kitzhaber has a history of saving lives. —AP

One of the responding paramedics, Alan Ferschweiler, described the scene to the Oregonian.

"It was pretty neat to see the governor back on and going back to work," said Ferschweiler, who is president of the Portland Firefighters Association. "He was surprisingly calm, and you could see he went right back to the days where he was an emergency room doctor. To go and assist the governor and take over this patient from him is pretty surprising. It definitely took us off-guard."

This wasn’t the first time Kitzhaber had come to the rescue.

Blue Oregon reported in 2010 about the governor’s heroic actions after a man suffered a seizure during a debate Kitzhaber was participating in.

Dr. Kitzhaber "ran over, took his jacket off, and started giving him first aid" keeping his airways clear and helping him breathe. Paramedics arrived and took the man to the nearby hospital. As they were loading the man into an ambulance, a paramedic told the students that the man "going to be OK."

As timing would have it, Kitzhaber is currently running for re-election, seeking an unprecedented fourth term leading the state.

Kitzhaber did not comment about Monday night’s event, but his spokesperson issued a statement, according to KGW.com.

"The governor wishes her well and hopes that she seeks treatment in order to avoid the bad situation she was faced with today."

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