First Read

First Up: A real-life 'ER' moment for Surgeon General Ladapo

From the daily First Read email.

Speaking of doctors, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo stepped out of his role as a state official this week and simply played “doc.” He was at the Children’s Week Storybook Village event Tuesday morning, on the steps of the old Capitol, when he saw a Capitol Police officer rushing with what appeared to be a medical kit, according to witnesses and confirmed by Florida Department of Health officials.  

That’s when Ladapo realized a man – later identified as 57-year-old Willie James Davis Jr. – was sitting slumped in a chair. Ladapo started chest compressions, then used an emergency defibrillator on Davis, shocking him at least once. The man regained consciousness and emergency responders found his pulse had returned. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was recovering as of Wednesday.   

In a statement, Ladapo said he was “grateful I was at the right place at the right time. I love being a doctor and I especially appreciate times when my experience makes a difference. I’m glad I was able to be there for him, and I am praying for his recovery and look forward to getting together with him when he’s released from the hospital.” 

The department also shared a brief statement from Davis, which said in part, “I thank God for the blessing of continued life. And the angel he sent me.” 

– Jim Rosica

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