While walking through the Charlotte, North Carolina airport Tuesday morning, Republican Member of the House of Representatives from Tennessee, Phil Roe, a physician who once practiced obstetrics, heard calls for a doctor. Roe ran to the man's aid.
"When I got there, he wasn’t breathing," Roe later reported. Republican Member of the House of Representatives from South Carolina, Mike Mulvaney, who was with Roe at the time, said the man had ". . . literally just collapsed . . ." when Roe started performing CPR. “I bet the guy wasn’t down probably 30 seconds before Phil was taking care of him," Mulvaney said.
Roe and another doctor, who was also later discovered to be a registered Republican and a regular attendee at local Tea Party gatherings, rushed to the man's aid and performed CPR for ". . . five or six minutes . . .", Mulvaney estimated. "They pumped his chest pretty good. It was work, it was pretty intimidating to watch," Mulvaney said.
Paramedics, who arrived at the scene shortly after Roe, determined that the man had flat-lined. After resuscitating him with a defibrillator, they transported the man to an area hospital.
It has since been learned that the victim, Jack Cass, a lifetime member of the National Democratic Club in Washington DC, is expected to recover fully. However, during treatment in the emergency room, Mr. Cass was overheard asking for a deputy registrar in order to change his party affiliation. In response to the treating physician’s questioning regarding Mr. Cass’ request, the patient apparently mentioned that it would be much better if a Republican died than if a Democrat did.
Roe said he had never dealt with a cardiac arrest victim in public before. He refused to take full credit for saving the life of Mr. Cass, praising the policemen and EMTs who were on the scene.
"I don’t know who this guy is, I don’t know a thing about him," Roe told this reporter. "I’m just glad that myself and the others there were able to help.”
In a related story, Roe, who teamed with other GOP House doctors in June to speak out against President Barack Obama's Medicare plan, specifically criticized the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) that was established by this legislation and is charged with cutting benefits that are not cost effective.
"With the IPAB, there will be drastic cuts to patient care based on a budget, not on the patient’s needs or quality of care," Roe said at the time. "This is a dangerous board that must be repealed before it does great damage to the Medicare program.”
When reminded of this and informed of the fact that he and two other Republicans had apparently saved the life of a Democrat, Congressman Roe remarked that he had received calls from several “. . . across the aisle . . ." who were stunned and dismayed by his, and Mulvaney’s, actions. “They insisted that we are the ones who advocate that people in Mr. Cass’ position are left to die on the streets.” Mr. Roe said.
Mr. Roe went on to say, “I suppose our actions have damaged their [Democratic] credibility and removed what they believed was an important aspect of their message regarding our proposals for health care reform. Moreover, the GOP national headquarters hasn’t yet called to kick me out of the party."