News & Politics

Yes, There’s a Doctor in the House (Or Senate)

Former Tennessee Senator Bill Frist and current Tennessee Representative Phil Roe came to the rescue on more than one occasion

Representative Phil Roe

If you have an emergency, hope a member of the Tennessee congressional delegation is nearby.

Heart surgeon turned senator Bill Frist—who in 1991, while at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, saved future general David Petraeus after Petraeus was shot by an M16 rifle in a training accident—racked up an impressive life-saving score during his tenure as senator, including several times when he was called to aid his elderly colleague Strom Thurmond.

In 1995, just months after being elected, Frist helped save the life of a minister who had suffered a heart attack while visiting the Dirksen building. Three years later, after a gunman tried to storm the Capitol, Frist rushed to the scene and helped save the gunman, who had been wounded by police. Then in 2003, while on vacation in Florida, Frist happened upon a car accident and helped treat the injured family.

Now Phil Roe, who represents Tennessee’s 1st District in the northeast corner of the state, is following in Frist’s footsteps.

Roe, a physician, was on his way to DC in September, passing through the Charlotte airport, when someone yelled, “Is anybody here a doctor? There’s a gentleman who just collapsed!”

Roe and another passing physician administered CPR until paramedics arrived with a defibrillator and brought the man back to consciousness.

This article appears in the November 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.