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Man collapses during Obama speech

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Medics revive man at Obama's speech to high school class
  • Man was temporarily pulseless, says state senator
  • He was taken to a hospital

Kalamazoo, Michigan (CNN) -- Rescue workers had to resuscitate a man who collapsed in the middle of President Barack Obama's commencement address to a high school graduating class Monday night.

Obama was midway through the speech to graduates of Kalamazoo Central High School when witnesses say the man collapsed in the lower bleachers of Western Michigan University's arena where the event was held.

Paramedics and a local politician who is a doctor rushed to help the man. State Senator Tom George, a practicing physician and former medical director for Hospice of Greater Kalamazoo, told CNN affiliate WOOD he was a few rows in front of the man when he heard a "commotion".

Audience members fainting at presidential events, often in hot, crowded, rooms is not unusual. But spectators were surprised when this turned into a much more serious medical emergency.

"He was not breathing and he was pulseless", George said. Rescuers could be seen repeatedly pumping the victim's chest in the crowd, while the speech continued.

A stretcher was then brought, and he was wheeled to a waiting ambulance.

Medics told a pool reporter outside the area the man had been revived, and George told WOOD the victim was responding to treatment. He was taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, but there was no word on his condition.