Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber helps save Portland woman's life - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber helps save Portland woman's life

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Oregon's governor helped save a woman in downtown Portland who apparently went into cardiac arrest.

Gov. John Kitzhaber was driving from a meeting in downtown and on his way to have dinner, when he reportedly saw a woman lying on the ground near SW Main and 13th Avenue, according to the governor's office.

The governor reportedly asked his driver to pull over, and had his security detail call 911 while he rushed over to help the woman.

Fire Engine 4 says they got the call for help just after 5 p.m. The call came in as a woman who was possibly suffering from a drug overdose and was not breathing.

Fire crews say they were told by dispatchers that someone on scene was administering CPR, but what they didn't expect to hear was that person was Kitzhaber.

"It was definitely a surprise to see him there," said Lt. Alan Ferschweiler.

Sure enough, the former emergency room doctor was the man fire crews found tirelessly working to save the woman lying motionless on the ground.

"The governor was able to assist in ventilation, I'm not sure if he still carries his medical equipment with him, but it was all there and he was able to use it," said Ferschweiler.

Fire crews say they were able to take over CPR, run an IV and administer the proper drugs to save the woman's life. If it weren't for the governor's quick actions, though, fire crews say things might have ended up differently.

"It was great work by the governor, and I was proud to see him do his work, and to take over for him," said Ferschweiler.

The governor's office sent FOX 12 this statement about what happened:

"The governor is glad the woman is OK, and he wishes her well. He was very glad that he was in the right place to be able to help her. His hope is that she gets the treatment she needs so that this doesn't happen again."

Fire crews say the woman was awake and talking when they took her to the hospital. There's no word on her current condition.

Portland fire crews tell FOX 12 that this particular call is the perfect example of why they need to staff their engines with four people. Crews say after they took over for the governor, each person on their team quickly worked the different jobs necessary to save the woman's life.

Portland fire officials say the way the city's budget stands for next year, they will lose an important grant that funds dozens of firefighter jobs, and will no longer be able to have four-person crews.

The mayor's office issued the following statement to FOX 12 about the situation:

"The mayor did not cut any firefighter jobs as part of this year's budget, which focuses more on maintenance. They have every confidence in the fire department that they will continue to run and operate the best program possible."

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