Gov. Kitzhaber performs CPR on unconscious woman in downtown Portland

Gov. Kitzhaber performs CPR on unconscious woman in downtown Portland »Play Video
Gov. John Kitzhaber (file photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Governor John Kitzhaber performed CPR on a woman lying unconscious on a downtown Portland sidewalk Monday.

The governor’s car was near Southwest 13th Avenue and Main Street when he saw the woman and told his driver to stop. Kitzhaber is a former emergency room doctor.

The woman had no pulse.

Kitzhaber performed CPR for about four minutes until paramedics arrived. Alan Ferschweiler with Portland Fire and Rescue said he believes the governor saved the woman’s life.

“Would she have perished? I'm not sure about that. But being able to provide oxygen to your brain when you’re not breathing, I’m sure the quality of life of this person probably wouldn’t have been normal if he hadn’t been there, so he did some great work today,” Ferschweiler said.

The woman’s condition is unknown.

In 2010, while he was at a gubernatorial debate in Eugene, the forum was suspended for about 20 minutes after an audience member suffered an apparent seizure. When someone asked if there was a doctor in the house, Kitzhaber rushed up the aisle to provide first aid.
   
He checked the man's vital signs and ensured he had an open airway until paramedics arrived.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Watch: Kitzhaber spoke about the incident Tuesday: