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Congressman Saves Man’s Life On DFW Bound Flight

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(courtesy: Rep. Raul Ruiz's office)

(courtesy: Rep. Raul Ruiz’s office)

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - A California Congressman is receiving plenty of praise after saving a man’s life on a flight to DFW.

The American Airlines plane was on its way from Washington D.C. when the passenger collapsed.

The plane made an emergency landing in Raleigh-Durham airport before making it to DFW.

“I put my doctor hat on and went to work as an emergency physician,” says Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-California). “I’m trained for these moments.”

Ruiz, who is also a Congressman, had just wrapped up his week in Washington, “We had just finished casting some votes.”

But as he left one job, he was called to another.

While on his way home to California, he heard flight attendants frantically calling for a doctor.

Dr. Ruiz says his patient was a diabetic man in his 60s who was having trouble breathing.

The doctor says the man even passed out twice.

Gloria Renner was sitting near the patient.

“I heard this loud thump,” explain Renner. “I was holding the equipment and they were grabbing the oxygen and the first aid. I’m sitting there holding this because they are right there with him next to me. It’s like, ‘What can I do? What can I do?'”

Renner says she prayed and prayed.

By then, Dr. Ruiz and a firefighter on board had started using an emergency defibrillator.

Dr. Ruiz says the man started breathing again.

“It’s a side of Raul that I have not seen before,” says Texas Congressman Pete Gallego (D-Texas), who was also on board. “I saw him as an articulate and passionate advocate for folks in his district, but I’ve never seen him as an M.D., and Raul Ruiz as a M.D. is a pretty impressive guy.”

Congressman Gallego even joked, “I’m going to try to be on every one of his flights just in case anything ever happens.”

As for Dr. Ruiz, he says this is the fourth patient on a plane that he’s taken care of on one of his flights home.

He says the patient will need a full examination to figure out exactly what happened, but he’s expected to be alright.

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