Lakeside Man Helped Saved President's Life - NBC 7 San Diego

Lakeside Man Helped Saved President's Life



    Many of us remember exactly where we were when we heard the words "The president has been shot."

    It was 30 years ago Wednesday when John Hinckley tried to kill President Ronald Reagan.  And it was a Lakeside man who played a pivotal role in saving the President's life.

    Dr. Benjamin Aaron was chief of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at George Washington University Hospital in 1981, where President Reagan collapsed on the emergency room floor from a bullet in his lung.

    "Here we are confronted by a 70 year old man, though in good shape, he was still a 70 year old man who had lost 30 to 40 percent of his blood volume by that time,"Dr. Aaron said.

    "And everybody turns to me and says what are you going to do,"said Dr. Aaron laughing.  "So, I said it's pretty clear he needs to go to the operating room."

    At the time Dr. Aaron was under tremendous pressure to save the President's life.  But he didn't let the pressure interfere with the job at hand.

    "You gotta get the job done, so if you're a professional worth your salt, you just pour yourself into it and get it done,"said Dr. Aaron. 

    Dr. Aaron and his team of doctors and nurses removed the bullet, and saved the President's life.

    During the recovery process, Dr. Aaron got to know First Lady Nancy Reagan very well because she literally lived at the hospital in a room next to the President.

    After grilling Dr. Aaron everyday about the President's progress, she would often give the doctor candy, as a way of saying thank you.

    "It was nice, I have a sweet tooth,"Dr. Aaron told NBCSanDiego.