By AARON KATERSKY and MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Dr. Mehmet Oz helped save the life of a man who collapsed at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday night.
The celebrity doctor, who hosts the daytime television talk show The Dr. Oz Show, had just arrived at the New Jersey airport on a flight from Florida with his family when they saw a man fall to the ground in the baggage claim area of Terminal C around 11 p.m. The man was foaming at the mouth and bleeding from where he had hit his head on the floor, Oz’s representative told ABC News.
Officer Jeffrey Croissant of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department was on patrol in the area and rushed to help the man, who was not breathing and did not have a pulse. Croissant immediately called for back-up and started to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the man. Oz, a practicing heart surgeon, ran over to help Croissant revive the man, according to a statement from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department.
“I couldn’t get a pulse, which is the first thing you check for. He wasn’t responsive,” Oz recalled during an interview Wednesday with ABC News’ Robin Roberts on Good Morning America.
“I had to roll him onto his back and recognized that he was purple, I mean the color of an eggplant, and that’s a bad combination,” he added. “And there’s that soul-sapping moment when you realize you’re losing a life. So I started doing CPR, which is my training.”
Croissant told ABC News that he didn’t recognize Oz at first because face masks are required at the airport, but once he did, the officer thought: “You really can’t get better help than that.”
Within minutes, more officers arrived on scene with oxygen and a defibrillator. After several more cycles of CPR and being shocked with the defibrillator, the man began to breathe on his own and was stabilized, according to police.
“You’ve seen those movies where the patient gets shocked and they jerk off the ground — thats exactly what happened. Unfortunately, usually the heart doesn’t start again,” Oz said. “In this case, like the movies, his heart started. You get goosebumps just seeing this happen.”
The 60-year-old New Jersey resident was transported to a local hospital in intensive care and is undergoing further evaluation, according to police.
“It is a true miracle with the odds heavily against him,” Oz added, while praising the officers who also sprung into action.
Oz said he has stayed in touch with the man’s wife to make sure he is OK.
“He’s doing very well. He’s in the ICU but leaving today to go to a hospital closer to his home,” Oz said. “He’s awake and alert, neurologically intact.”
The near-fatal incident highlights the importance of CPR and defibrillator training so people can jump in to help when there’s a medical emergency, according to Oz.
“When you learn CPR, the person whose life you’ll save will almost certainly be someone that you know and love,” he added. “You’re actually going to be able to use that on people who are dear to you.”
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