One Legislator Disputes ‘Heroic Actions’ of Another

State Rep. Joanne Favors says she was “stunned” to learn that state Rep. Tony Shipley had been legislatively honored for “heroic actions” in helping a man suffering a seizure at a Nashville hotel.
Favors, D-Chattanooga, a nurse by profession, said she was one of the first to rush to the aid of the man at a downtown Nashville hotel after “I heard the sound of an airway obstruction” and turned to see a man “obviously having a generalized seizure.”
Favors said she had a bystander call 911 while she helped turn the man on his side to facilitate breathing and checked to see that there was no obstruction in his mouth. Shipley came up later, she said, and “stood around.”
“I didn’t do it expecting any recognition,” she said, adding that the Nashville Fire Department paramedics who arrived quickly on the scene deserved any credit for saving the man’s life.
Shipley, R-Kingsport, seemed taken aback when told that Favors said he did little, if anything, to help the stricken man.
“My goodness,” he said. “That’s not correct.”
Shipley, a retired Air Force veteran who has paramedic training, said he administered a “jaw thrust,” a maneuver to assure that a person’s throat is clear for breathing, and was otherwise actively engaged.
“I was working with the guy on the floor. She was there, talking to people,” he said. “I think she left before I did.”
The resolution, HJR644, was sponsored by Rep. Julia Hurley, R-Lenoir City, and approved 98-0 on Thursday. The Legislature’s website shows Favors among those voting for it.
“Be it resolved,” the resolution says, “that we honor and commend Representative Tony Shipley for his outstanding demonstration of skill, courage, resourcefulness, and presence of mind, as we join with the citizens of Tennessee in expressing our admiration and appreciation for his heroic actions in saving the life of another.”
The preamble section of the resolution says, “at a time when many health care professionals are afraid to assist in similar situations due to fear of lawsuits, Representative Shipley cast aside all concerns over personal reprisal and quickly maneuvered his way through the panicked crowd; and … with great presence of mind, Tony Shipley kept the young man’s airway open until the seizure was over and the Nashville Fire Department had arrived.”
The Feb. 1 incident was initially reported by the Tennessean, which quoted Max Carter, a vice president of Franklin-based Passport Health Communications Inc., as crediting Shipley with saving the 34-year-old Passport employee. Carter said he and two other Passport employees caught their co-worker as he fell, but they were uncertain what else to do until Shipley arrived.
“As a result of Representative Shipley’s quick action what could have been a truly horrible situation was averted,” Carter wrote in an email that also hailed the lawmaker for disregarding the fear of lawsuits.

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