Port Authority police officers rushed to save a man who collapsed at Newark Liberty International Airport Monday night — but not without some assistance from a famous TV doctor.
The incident started when Port Authority Officer Jeffrey Croissant observed a 60-year-old man pass out in the baggage claim area of Terminal B. Croissant told NJ.com that the man “looked like a tree falling.” The officer ran over and saw that the man wasn’t breathing. After calling for backup, he immediately began administering CPR.
“It was a real chaotic scene. I called for EMS and talked to him to see if he was responsive,” Croissant said in an interview with NJ Advance Media. “I started checking his pulse, looked up and saw someone else giving him chest compressions, who said ‘I’m a doctor.’ I was happy to have him help.”
The doctor? Dr. Mehmet Oz, cardiac surgeon and longtime host of the Dr. Oz Show, who happened to be coming off the same flight of the man who had collapsed. Croissant didn’t immediately recognize the famous doc (who was wearing a mask); he was too preoccupied with getting the man to breathe. Oz quickly leaped into lifesaving mode, and the two worked together to revive the man: Oz checking that the man’s airway was open and Croissant performing CPR.
Within minutes, Port Authority Officers Michael Bock, Matthew Vecchione and Daniel Olbrich arrived on scene with oxygen and a defibrillator for the man, who eventually regained consciousness and was transported to an intensive care unit at a nearby hospital.
“It was after I switched off doing chest compression with another police officer, that the third police on the scene said, ‘yeah that’s Dr. Oz,’” Croissant recalled to reporters. “I didn’t believe him.
“He was a great help, he directed everything. I can’t overstate how much of a help he was,” the officer continued. “What are the odds that when someone loses [consciousness] and goes into cardiac arrest, and there is Dr. Oz to help out?”
Oz recounted the incident during an interview with Good Morning America, saying that the defibrillator “diagnosed that [the man’s] heart had stopped, as I had thought was the case when I couldn’t get a pulse. It told us to step away. And you’ve seen those movies where the patient gets shocked and they jerk off the ground? That’s exactly what happened. Usually, the heart doesn’t start again … in this case, like the movies, his heart started.”
As Croissant told ABC News: “You really can’t get better help than that.”