USA TODAY US Edition
Dr. Oz helps man suffering heart attack at airport
Dr. Mehmet Oz, widely known as “Dr. Oz,” the host of the eponymous health and lifestyle show, rushed to the aid of a man who suffered a heart attack in Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on Monday night.
Port Authority Officer Jeffrey Croissant was first to notice the 60-year-old man, who was not named, collapse at a baggage claim carousel, according to a statement from the Port Authority Police Department.
The man “looked like a tree falling,” Croissant said.
After the officer determined the man was no longer breathing and lacked a pulse, he proceeded to administer CPR, Authority spokesperson Lenis Valens said.
Oz, a Cliffside Park resident who was returning home on the same flight, emerged from the crowd of passengers and helped clear the man’s air passage while Croissant pressed on the man’s chest, the doctor said during an interview with NorthJersey.com.
“You can’t do the airway and the heart at the same time,” Oz said. “If (Croissant) didn’t step up, it would have delayed us, and those few seconds are vital.”
Soon, other officers arrived with defibrillators and applied shocks to the man’s chest until his breathing returned.
“Those guys were superstars,” Oz said of the police.
“These guys came here to play.” Likewise, Croissant was thankful Oz was nearby.
“What better help to have than a cardiac surgeon?” Croissant asked rhetorically after the incident.
He added that he did not immediately realize the man who came to his aid was not just a doctor, but a famous television personality. “Everyone wears masks,” he explained.
In light of the incident, Oz, who is a cardiothoracic surgeon, advises everyone to learn CPR.
“You will save lives, and the person whose life you save will almost always be someone you know and love because that’s who you spend time with,” he said.
Another passenger posted a photo on Twitter of the emergency and said Oz’s daughter “yelled out, ‘Dad!!!’ ” and watched the TV host as he “ran into action.”
The 60-year-old who suffered the heart attack was stabilized and taken to a hospital’s intensive care unit for further evaluation, Valens said.
The whole emergency couldn’t have lasted more than 10 minutes by Oz’s estimation, but it’s hard to say exactly how long the man was unconscious.
“You lose track of time,” he said. “Everything gets compressed and it seems like forever, because your brain is taking snapshots of it.”
As surprising the happenstance was, Oz said this was not the first time his medical services were called into action during off-hours.
“It happens periodically,” he said. “You know the thing where somebody says, ‘is there a doctor on the plane?’ ”