Capitol Shooting
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  •   Senator Frist Treats Shooting Victims

       Senator Frist
    Sen. Bill Frist called the shooting "a very serious catastrophe." (AP)
    By Helen Dewar
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, July 25, 1998; Page A9

    Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a Harvard-trained heart surgeon, had just finished presiding over the Senate and returned to his office in the Dirksen Office Building when news reached him of the shooting at the Capitol. Moments later, he was sprinting across the street to the scene of the carnage. Frist ran out of the office so quickly he left behind the medical bag he keeps there, according to spokesman Margaret Camp.

    He performed CPR on one man "who had multiple gunshot wounds to the extremities" and the right side of the chest, and rode with him to D.C. General Hospital, the lawmaker told the Associated Press outside the hospital. Although Frist said he did not know the man's identity, he is believed to have been Russell E. Weston Jr., identified by police as the gunman.

    The senator also aided another man who had been shot in the face and helped load him into an ambulance. Again, Frist said he did not know the man's name, but apparently it was Capitol Hill police officer Jacob Chestnut, who was taken to Washington Hospital Center, where he died. Another Capitol Hill police officer shot at the scene also died.

    "I was really just focused on keeping their hearts and lungs moving," Frist said, calling the shooting "a very serious catastrophe."

    It was not the first time that Frist, 46, has offered medical treatment since he became a senator in 1995. That September, he administered CPR to a man from his home state of Tennessee who had gone into cardiac arrest outside the Dirksen building. When a rescue crew arrived, Frist inserted a tube into the man's lung to try to aid breathing and then used a defibrillator to jump-start his heart.

    He has also come to the aid of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) when she grew short of breath from a drug allergy during a Senate hearing and, while on vacation in California in August 1996, tended to a woman who had choked on her food.

    Before entering politics, Frist taught at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and was the founding director of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center. He has written a book and was the editor of another on organ transplantation.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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