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High in the Air, a Hill Spouse Comes to the Rescue


Beverly Young delivers food to a wounded soldier at Bethesda's National Naval Medical Center in 2005. (Lucian Perkins/The Washington Post)

Beverly Young heard the flight crew call for a doctor 20 minutes into her Tampa-to-D.C. flight yesterday; no one came forward. Then they called for a nurse; nothing.

Was there anyone with medical training? That's when the congressman's wife stepped up -- and possibly saved a life, as she came to the aid of an elderly woman who passed out in the lavatory of the US Airways flight.

For -- who knew? -- one of the most outspoken spouses on Capitol Hill used to be a firefighter and medic in her 20s. "It always comes in handy," Young said when we tracked her down. "It's automatic to go when someone needs help."

Young, the wife of Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.), made headlines three years ago when Capitol police ejected her from a State of the Union speech for wearing a "Support the Troops" T-shirt. (Cindy Sheehan was evicted from the same room for wearing an antiwar slogan; police deemed both to be signs of protest.)

Young and her husband were sitting in first class ("We're frequent fliers") when they saw the woman hobble up the aisle, doubled over. Called in to help, she saw the woman lose consciousness, her lips turning blue. In the cramped room, Young gave the woman mouth-to-mouth and a single chest compression, enough to revive her. Crew members asked Young if they should divert -- but since the woman was breathing, she told them they could fly on to Reagan National. Paramedics met the plane and took the woman to a hospital.

Did her patient know she had been rescued by a congressional spouse? It came up as Young chatted with the woman to keep her alert. Republican or Democrat, the woman asked. Young told her. "Well, I'm a Democrat," she recalls the woman saying, "but I'll vote for him next time."

By The Reliable Source  |  March 5, 2009; 1:02 AM ET
 
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