White House press briefing paused for medical emergency after reporter passed out from excessive heat

 June 19, 2024

A minor medical emergency at the White House on Tuesday briefly disrupted the presidential residence's daily schedule.

The daily press briefing was paused momentarily after a reporter became lightheaded and passed out amid a historic and oppressive heat wave with high humidity, according to Fox News.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stopped the briefing for a couple of minutes to personally check on the ailing journalist until members of the White House Medical Unit were able to tend to them.

"We have an emergency"

In her remarks at the top of the Tuesday press briefing before taking questions, Jean-Pierre took a moment to address the "extreme heat wave that we are seeing across the country" and how "dangerous" the heat could be for the elderly and those with "underlying health conditions."

"We encourage everyone experiencing extreme temperatures this week to check in on their neighbors, drink plenty of water, and look for cooling centers if needed," she said. "Stay alert, listen to local officials and weather alerts, and visit Heat.gov for more information on how to stay safe."

The press secretary then proceeded with the rest of her announcements before moving on to take questions from about a half dozen reporters before the briefing was suddenly halted when one of the journalists revealed, "We have an emergency" and Jean-Pierre replied, "Oh, hold on. Did somebody pass out?"

Woman passed out from the heat

According to an X post from NewsNation White House correspondent Kellie Meyer, the press secretary "stopped the briefing when a woman fainted in the back of the room."

"KJP immediately went to the back and got her water. A medical team came in. The woman is ok she got lightheaded I’m told and the briefing room is warm today," Meyer added.

"Okay. Sorry about that. Hopefully, she’s okay," Jean-Pierre said once she'd returned to the podium and the briefing resumed. Per the transcript, one of the reporters noted how "stuffy" it was while another pointed out the "heat effect," to which the president's spokeswoman replied, "You are correct. It is -- it is hot in here."

The press secretary asked if anybody else needed some water and, following a few jokes and small talk, the briefing resumed as the medical team came in and quietly assisted the woman who'd passed out.

Record-breaking high temps in historic heat wave

According to Fox Weather, a substantial portion of the country stretching from the Upper Midwest to the East Coast and Northeast are experiencing a historic heat wave due to a slow-moving high pressure system with hot temperatures and high humidity that is expected to last through the weekend.

Tens of millions of Americans in the affected area are under excessive heat advisories and alerts, and actual temperatures in Washington D.C. are predicted to top out at over 100 by Saturday before a cool-off next week as the system moves off-shore.

As the White House press secretary noted at the top of the briefing, people living in areas impacted by record-breaking temperatures and high humidity are advised to drink plenty of water and stay out of the heat as much as possible to avoid potential health issues and heat-related illnesses.

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