How Wolf Blitzer came to Michael McCaul’s rescue at a Washington dinner


Highlights

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul has an allergy to peanuts, which he calls his “Achilles heel.”

At a recent Washington dinner, McCaul fell ill and CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer rushed him to the hospital.

It was a very Washington working dinner at a nice restaurant a little before Christmas for U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, with some big names, including several ambassadors and CNN star anchor Wolf Blitzer.

McCaul, the seven-term congressman whose district stretches from Lake Travis to Houston’s northwestern suburbs, has raised his profile on the national and even international stage because of his chairmanship of the House Homeland Security Committee for the last five years.

Then dessert came around.

“I usually skip dessert,” McCaul told the American-Statesman, aware that desserts can often include peanuts, which he avoids because of his peanut allergy.

This time, he dug in.

No sooner than he took a bite, McCaul fell ill and knew he had to get to a hospital.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: Our Lone Star Politics page brings Capitol news to your Facebook feed

Blitzer sprang to action and offered to drive him to the nearest emergency room. His car was nearby, the CNN news personality told him. He rushed McCaul to George Washington University Hospital, where the congressman stayed overnight — and was appreciative that Blitzer came in to check on him the next day.

The two reconnected Tuesday night at the Washington Press Club Foundation dinner — an annual event for journalists and members of Congress — for the first time since the hospital trip, hugging and recounting the moment. McCaul was a guest of the American-Statesman.

McCaul, a fit and youthful-looking 56, recovered quickly. He told the Statesman that he has had several allergic reactions to peanuts before the December episode, describing the allergy as “my Achilles heel.”

McCaul said he was telling his story publicly for the first time because he wanted to help raise awareness of the seriousness of food allergies and the need to be tested and vigilant.

Cases of allergies to peanuts, which is a legume — the family of foods that include soybeans, pinto beans and peas — have been increasing among children and is among the most common causes of severe allergy attacks, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website.

Peanut allergy symptoms can be life-threatening, with even tiny amounts of peanuts causing a serious reaction. The most severe type of reaction to peanuts is anaphylaxis, which can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to something a person is allergic to, according to the renowned Minnesota clinic.

A patient suffering from anaphylactic shock “must be treated immediately with epinephrine (adrenaline) to relieve symptoms that include impaired breathing, swelling in the throat, or a sudden drop in blood pressure,” according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology website.

Many day care facilities and schools ban peanuts and tree nuts because of allergy concerns. Some airlines, including Fort Worth-based American Airlines, do not serve peanuts on their flights.

Nuts can be included in desserts for their taste and texture, so for those with nut allergies, experts recommend avoiding sweets altogether.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Police looked at two other men before arresting Criner in UT slaying
Police looked at two other men before arresting Criner in UT slaying

Before the arrest of Meechaiel Criner, Austin police talked to at least two other men about the April 2016 death of University of Texas dance student Haruka Weiser. As Criner’s capital murder trial entered week two Monday, lead detective Anthony Nelson testified that officers were talking to a 44-year-old man who lived near campus on Red River...
U.S. judge defends actions as trial on Texas’ fetal burial law begins
U.S. judge defends actions as trial on Texas’ fetal burial law begins

A federal trial over the future of a Texas law requiring that fetal remains be buried or cremated got off to an unusual start Monday when the judge defended himself from a federal appeals court that had questioned his motives in the case. The dispute involved a side issue over a subpoena compelling the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops to disclose...
Ernest Perales, trailblazer for equal education in Austin, dies
Ernest Perales, trailblazer for equal education in Austin, dies

Ernest Perales, a trailblazer for equitable education for Mexican-Americans in the Austin community, died Sunday. He was 73. Perales was a community organizer, a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens District 85 and a member of the GI Forum. In April 1972, he helped mobilize Mexican-American parents to create a group called Concerned...
Flooded Bastrop County Animal Shelter gets surprise relief
Flooded Bastrop County Animal Shelter gets surprise relief

It was a normal Monday at the Bastrop County animal shelter until a large truck, emblazoned with the signature red, white and blue H-E-B logo, pulled up. Last month, the shelter suffered $50,000 in damage after a water fountain burst overnight and flooded the facility with up to an inch of water across the floors and into kennel areas. It was...
Suspect’s gun ties neighbor’s death to shooting binge, Austin police say

Charles Curry, 29, and the man he is accused of killing, 32-year-old Christian Meroney, so far appear to be linked only as neighbors and by ballistics evidence found in their shared South Austin apartment building, according to court documents made public Monday. Investigators did not reveal a possible motive for Meroney’s shooting death in an...
More Stories