NEWARK, N.J. – The television personality known simply as Dr. Oz gave details Wednesday about a tense real-life scene in which he helped police save a man's life at Newark Liberty International Airport as anxious spectators looked on.
The incident occurred late Monday night when Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Officer Jeffrey Croissant saw the 60-year-old man fall to the floor near a baggage claim area.
Croissant called for backup, and began performing CPR immediately on the unidentified man, who wasn't breathing and didn't appear to have a pulse, according to the Port Authority.
When another person came over to help, Croissant didn’t immediately recognize it was Mehmet Oz, the cardiac surgeon and longtime host of TV’s “Dr. Oz Show,” who happened to be nearby.
“The gentleman had face-planted, and there was a pool of blood like a murder scene,” Oz told The Associated Press. Oz said he tried to rouse him, but the man had no pulse and his face had begun to turn purple.
Croissant performed CPR on the man while Oz worked to clear his airway with a face pack and a tongue-depressing oral airway device. Three other officers brought oxygen and a defibrillator for the man, who eventually regained a pulse and was taken to a hospital for evaluation.
“What better help than to have a cardiac surgeon?" Croissant said afterward.
Oz said that he first became aware of the man's distress while waiting for baggage at the luggage carousel and his daughter started yelling “Daddy, daddy, daddy!” Oz said his fatherly alarm bells went off thinking she was in trouble, then switched into emergency gear when he saw the man.
The defibrillator “diagnosed that his heart had stopped, as I had thought was the case when I couldn’t get a pulse,” Oz said. "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.”
Oz said the man's face began regaining its color, and he awakened.
“The spectators, you could feel the prayers and energy change,” he said. “Instead of watching a trainwreck it was a miracle.”
Oz has come to the aid of injured people on numerous occasions.
In 2015, emergency responders arriving at the scene of a crash on the New Jersey Turnpike found Oz was already treating two injured people. And two years earlier, he helped a British tourist whose foot was severed when a cabbie jumped the curb at Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan.
Oz praised the Port Authority officers, and credited the man’s life with their quick response.
“The officers stepped up perfectly,” he said.
Dearen and Porter reported from New York.