|Sunday January 13
9:13 PM ET
President Faints at White House
By RON FOURNIER, AP White House Correspondent
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush (news - web sites) fainted briefly in the White House residence Sunday after choking on a pretzel while watching a National Football League playoff game on television, White House physician Dr. Richard Tubb said.
The doctor, an Air Force colonel, said Bush quickly recovered and is doing well.
``I do not find any reason that this would happen again,'' said Tubb. ``He fainted due to a temporary decrease in heart rate brought on by swallowing a pretzel.''
Tubb said Bush suffered an abrasion on his left cheek the size of a half dollar and a bruise on his lower lip, apparently from falling onto the floor from a couch.
Bush was alone in the room watching TV while his wife, first lady Laura Bush, was in a nearby room on the telephone.
Tubb said Bush believes he was out only for a few seconds because when he awoke, his two dogs were sitting in the same position they were when he lost consciousness.
``He said it (the pretzel) didn't seem to go down right,'' Tubb said.
The fainting spell occurred at approximately 5:35 p.m. EST and Bush contacted a nurse on duty at the White House five minutes later. Tubb was paged eight minutes later and rushed to the White House to examine the president.
Tubb said Bush, under his own power, took an elevator from the second floor of the residence to the first floor doctor's office where he underwent a through examination that included use of a heart monitor.
His blood pressure and pulse were normal, Tubb said.
Bush has a lower-than-normal pulse rate, which doctors attribute to his rigorous workout regime. But Tubbs said that low heart rate made him more prone to fainting when the pretzel stimulated a nerve when it got caught in his throat.
He said Bush had complained Saturday and Sunday of ``being a little off his game,'' feeling that he was coming down with a head cold.
White House spokesman Ari Fleisher said Bush intended to keep his regular schedule Monday, which includes an early morning trip to the Midwest.
Bush was watching the Baltimore-Miami game when the incident occurred.