Sen. Rand Paul stepped in to help a colleague who was choking at a Republican conference lunch at the Capitol on Thursday, according to The New York Times.
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, began to choke during the meal and Paul, who has practiced medicine as an eye doctor, performed the Heimlich maneuver on Ernst, dislodging the food stuck in her throat.
The food Ernst choked on was food she had provided to the GOP conference as part of a tradition where a different senator each week brings food from their home state, according to The New York Times.
While most of the senators did not know what was happening in real time, they praised Paul for his action following the lunch.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has had disagreements with Paul, said, “God bless Rand Paul. I never thought I’d say that.”
Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming said, “It was great that Rand was there.”
Lummis said the two senators stood up and explained to colleagues what had happened and then discussed the importance of knowing what to do when someone is choking.
The Heimlich maneuver has a person wrapping both arms around a choking victim from behind, making a fist just over the victim’s navel and thrusting upward sharply five times to eject an object that is obstructing the windpipe.
“We talked about how you can get Heimlich training here, and other people talked about incidents that they’ve been involved in where someone required the Heimlich,” Lummis said.
It was not the first time a senator was got food stuck in their throat at a Senate lunch. In 2018, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, performed the Heimlich on Sen. Claire McCaskill.
McCaskill’s rib was broken during the maneuver, something that is not uncommon, according to The Cleveland Clinic.
Ernst joked after the incident writing on social media, “Can’t help but choke on the woke policies Dems are forcing down our throats. Thanks, Dr. @RandPaul!”