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McCarthy Appears To Suffer Defeat On 7th Speaker Ballot; Now: Hospital News Conference On NFL's Damar Hamlin. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired January 05, 2023 - 13:30   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Any minute, we're expecting a medical update on a remarkable recovery of, Damar Hamlin, of the Buffalo Bills. Is now awake, we're told.

We're waiting on a press conference at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where the Buffalo Bills player has been hospitalized since having his cardiac arrest and collapsing in the first quarter of that Buffalo Bills/Cincinnati Bengals game, caught on national TV.

We will bring that to you live when it begins.

The other dramatic story this hour, of course, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy's ambition colliding with Republican resistance.

A seventh straight vote in the House once again ending with no speaker, no movement in either direction towards or away from Kevin McCarthy among Republicans.

One of the Republican hardliners just tweeting, quote, "A deal is not done."

Let's go straight to CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill for us.

Manu, so are we going to ballot number eight or might they adjourn and negotiate further?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is really the key question here, Jake. The Republican leaders want to adjourn. They don't want to have this vote.

But as you can see right there -- this is a really remarkable angle here. This is Kevin McCarthy talking to Andrew Clyde, one of his detractors, in what appears to be an animated conversation on the House floor as they are trying to go member by member to try to get the votes in order for him to become speaker.

Those votes have not changed. Twenty votes against him. He could ask to cut it down to four.

And I've been spending this vote outside of a meeting going on, in the first floor of the capitol. Tom Emmer, who is the number-three Republican and the incoming Republican majority, is having a meeting with several hold-outs, Chip Roy, Scott Perry as well as Dan Bishop and Byron Donalds himself.

As they have come in and out of that room, other than Scott Perry, they have been pretty tight-lipped.

Chip Roy -- none of them voted for Kevin McCarthy on this seventh ballot but Chip Roy would not comment if he thought he was going to vote for McCarthy.

And Byron Donalds, I asked multiple times, how long will you continue this bid for speaker or will you back off? He got 19 votes in this go round. He would not say how long he would continue this endeavor.

Scott Perry has been sharply critical. He put out a tweet decrying the leaks, apparent reference to our reporting from last night breaking the news about the concessions that Kevin McCarthy had offered this group of members.

But it appears those concessions have not gone far enough.

I asked Perry about them. He said they need to push to make sure Congress works better. If we did not have this narrow majority we would not have the leverage we need to make these changes.

So they are pushing for more changes. But even if they get Scott Perry and Chip Roy and Byron Donalds, it is unclear if they can get those other -- McCarthy can get those other members in order to secure the speakership. So we'll see what they intend to do right now.

It seems unlikely they have the votes to adjourn the House. They didn't have it at the beginning. They may not have it at this vote. So maybe going to an eighth ballot.

Remember, a hundred years ago, the last time we went to multiple ballots, went to nine ballots.

So we could be seeing and we could exceed that today if they continue to vote here and McCarthy does not have the votes and clearly still struggling to get there -- Jake?

TAPPER: Do we have that angle of Kevin McCarthy still talking to Congressman Andrew Clyde?

Congressman Clyde, the only Georgia Republican opposing McCarthy's bid. So this is not a delegation opposition. It is just him on his own.

Let's go over to Melanie Zanona.

Melanie, McCarthy allies have been willing to concede quite a bit in these negotiations. But they seem to be drawing a pretty clear line on one issue, tell us about that.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: You're right, McCarthy's allies have been pretty much willing to swallow every single concession that Kevin McCarthy has made, even though they don't like the demands he's given in to.

But one area where they're drawing a line in the sand. That is committee gavels and subcommittee gavels for some of the critics and hold-outs. We're told that has been in the mix as part of the negotiations. Nothing is final yet.


But I talked to two Republicans who serve on the GOP steering panel. This is the committee that awards committee assignments and committee gavels.

And those lawmakers said, if McCarthy were to make a promise that awarded a committee or subcommittee gavel --


TAPPER: All right, Melanie, I need to interrupt. I apologize.

Let's go straight to Cincinnati right now, to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Listen in to the press conference about Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- incredible physicians with us today.

Dr. William Knight, A. Knight IV, is a professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

Dr. Knight is also the lead physician for the Cincinnati team of unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants, visiting team medical liaisons and emergency medical services support, including on-field paramedic, airway management physicians and respiratory therapists.

Dr. Timothy Pritts is a trauma surgeon and serves as a professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and the division chief of general surgery.

I'm going to hand our beginning comments over to Dr. Pritts so he can begin to share the current medical condition of Damar Hamlin.

Dr. Pritts?

DR. TIMOTHY PRITTS, TRAUMA SURGEON & PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF SURGERY & DIVISION CHIEF OF GENERAL SURGERY, UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Good afternoon, everybody. Greetings from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. It's our privilege to meet with you.

And Dr. Knight and I are representing the many, many individuals and teams that have helped care for Mr. Hamlin since the on-field event on Monday night.

We would like to share that there has been substantial improvement in his condition over the past 24 hours. We had significant concern about him after the injury and after the event that happened on the field. But he is making substantial progress. As of this morning, he is beginning to awaken and it appears that his

neurological condition and function is intact. We are very proud to report that. Very happy for him and for his family and for the Buffalo Bills organization that he is making improvement.

He continues to be critically ill and continues to undergo intensive care in our surgical and trauma ICU. He is being cared for by ICU neurosurgery -- I'm sorry, neurocritical care teams, trauma surgery and a cardiology team as well as our expert nurses and respiratory therapists.

They are attending to him. And he still has significant progress that he needs to make, but this marks a really good turning point in his ongoing care.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are happy to entertain some questions. And I believe representatives from the Buffalo Bills are going to help facilitate those for us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we can't see the chat, but --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- will be first.

WOLFE: Dr. Pritts, Dr. Knight, this is Cameron Wolfe with "NFL Network." Really appreciate you spending time with us and sharing updates here.

If possible, can you take us through the timeline from when Damar arrived in your care to where we are now as far as what you guys did with his recovery and where that progress in specific is?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do that with the person who just posted the last question.

WOLFE: Did I come through clearly there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nope. Can you try again?

WOLFE: Yes, apologies.

First of all, appreciate you, Dr. Pritts and Dr. Knight, for your time and your care in this situation.

This is Cameron Wolfe with "NFL Network. Wanted to inquire if you can take us through the timeline from when Damar came into your care and to where he is now as far as what you guys have done to get him to this significant improvement stage?


What I can tell you is our team involved significant number of care team involved in helping with Mr. Hamlin on the field on Monday night.

He was attended to by four of our emergency physicians serving in the various roles as the airway physician, the visiting team medical liaison, a neurotrauma consultant as well as one of the team physicians for the Cincinnati Bengals.


As everybody knows Mr. Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the feel and was promptly recognized by the Buffalo Bills medical staff and that allowed for a very immediate resuscitation on the field.

He was promptly resuscitated. He did require CPR and defibrillation, at which point he was transferred the University of Cincinnati Medical center and was met by Dr. Pritts and the trauma team as well as our emergency medicine colleagues.

He was managed and resuscitated and worked up in the emergency department, had some additional tests in the E.D. and in the hospital and has been managed in the surgical ICU as Dr. Pritts said.

It's been a long and difficult road for the last three days. He has been very sick and has made a fairly remarkable recovery and improvement to the point, as Tim noted he is now demonstrating that sign of good neurologic recovery as well as overall clinical improvement.

As has been previously reported related to not just his vital signs but a lot of his other individual organ recovery.

THAD BROWN, SPORTS DIRECTOR, WROC TELEVISION: Doctor, this is Thad Brown from WROC Television in Rochester, New York. Thank you very much for your time and all the work that you've done with this.

Can you speak at all to the cause of what happened? What caused the cardiac arrest.

And I think specifically was it simply the actions that happened on the field or was there something existing that, you know, made Mr. Hamlin I guess something that might be susceptible to this happening?

WRIGHT: The answer to that is that that workup is ongoing. We do not have definitive answers as to the etiology of the arrest and tests will continue to be ongoing as he continues to progress.

BROWN: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Hi, Dr. Knight, Dr. Pritts. This is Matt (ph) with WTA (ph) in Buffalo New York. As everybody has said, thank you for everything that you guys have done.

I know you briefly mentioned it to Cameron's question about what the timeline is. But can you guys go into a little more detail or explain how critical those first moments were on the field to ultimately get him to this point?

And what the doctors and the medical staff from the Bills and Bengals were able to accomplish in that period?

KNIGHT: Sure, I think it just speaks really to the immediate recognition that there was something significantly and seriously wrong by the Bills medical staff.

Tim and I speak together, we cannot credit their team enough. They're often unfortunately there are injuries occasionally that happens on sports fields, be it football or others.

But it is incredibly rare to have something be this serious that happens like that and to be that quickly recognized.

What they did was immediately marshal the emergency action plan that prompted the airway physician and emergency physician that was out on the field to be at his bedside in less than a minute.

He had a prompt recognition of loss of pulse, which gave him immediate bystander CPR, which, as many of you know, rarely if ever happens.

So the fact that Mr. Hamlin had immediate bystander CPR in addition to prompt recognition of his arrhythmia to get defibrillated and back to return of circulation quickly speaks to the timeline you were asking about.

To get the spontaneous circulation with immediate bystander CPR that was performed well, all meeting the standard of what we would expect in that scenario led us to discuss these good outcomes today.

PRITTS: I'll second that. You know, the Bills training staff who was with him immediately recognized that this was not a run-of-the-mill injury and that they had a significant event on their hands and immediately responded and got the emergency response team involved in his care.

And really this was -- went as well as something like this could go under very challenging circumstances. And they did a fantastic job. Which is why we're here today.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And understanding how complicated of a situation this ultimately is, would it be fair to say if things would have taken a few extra minutes or maybe even a few extra seconds there could have been a different outcome here?

PRITTS: I think that's fair to say.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: All right, thank you both for everything you guys have done and for the time today.

JON SCOTT, SPORT MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST, SPECTRUM NEWS: This is Jon Scott from "Spectrum News" in Buffalo.

You mentioned there are signs of neurological impact -- what have been those signs that you have seen from him that give you the reasoning to make that assessment? [13:45:00]

PRITTS: We are in the situation where we wanted to allow him to gradually wake up as the rest of his body was healing and last night he was able to emerge and follow commands and even ask who won the game.

SCOTT: And timeline-wise, I'm sure you don't necessarily deal with these events regularly but how common is it from Monday night to now for that sort of improvement to be made?

KNIGHTS: The answer to that is it's variable. We do manage post- cardiac arrest patients routinely as part of critical care in all of our ICUs and it's variable.

But it speaks to his age, his incredible fitness, and then again I don't think we could emphasize enough the immediate medical response.

The fact that he had highly trained professionals from the Buffalo Bills in addition to having paramedics, emergency physicians, respiratory therapists all right at his bedside in less than a minute from the collapse.

That speaks to that ability that demonstrates that he had good perfusion to his brain that led to no identifiable neurologic deficit.

SCOTT: Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Dr. Pritts, I just want to follow up on something you said. That Damar spoke last night. Can you speak to that?

PRITTS: I can clarify. He did not speak. He was able to communicate in writing. And he is unable to speak with us yet as he still has a breathing tube in. And we are still assisting him with ventilation.

So the, you know, when he was communicating with us last night and again today that's been in writing.

And to paraphrase one of our partners, you know, when he asked did we win, the answer is, yes, you know, Damar, you won. You've won the game of life.

And that's probably the most important thing out of this and we really need to keep him in the center of everything else that's going on and we really want to ensure a good outcome for him.

TODD DYKES, REPORTER: Hi, this is Todd Dykes with WLWT here in Cincinnati.

Doctor, again, I know so many people are just so grateful for the work that you've done, the work on the feel and so forth.

I was fascinated, I think so many of us were to learn about the protocols the NFL has in place, the 60-minute meeting and so forth when the chief medical officer talked about that yesterday. And the question was asked a bit earlier but I'll circle back, had there not been one thing in that protocol that would not have been in place, whether it was equipment or might not have worked or a personal or so forth, what would that one thing have been that could have led to a more, you know, tragic outcome?

Because I think we're all realizing that the NFL does a lot of preplanning for these kinds of situations? I'm curious to get your take on that.

KNIGHT: I'm not sure there's one thing. I think that really speaking and emphasizing to that team approach that, if you see those pictures and that video of the congregation of the team, you had Bills professional, Bengals professionals, independent physicians.

But we have all the right equipment. There's all the EMS equipment, airway equipment, advanced cardiac life support equipment, the ability to do CPR, the ability to defibrillate is there.

We had several of my partners that were -- that were teammates that were partners that were helping to resuscitate Mr. Hamlin.

And you have those scenarios where people know each other and train together. There's not a lot of speaking that needs to happen. They know how to work. They know how to integrate no different than when Dr. Pritts and I are working in the trauma bay. And that helps with that overall management.

Was there one thing or is there one thing that if absent, would have led to a poor outcome? I can't say that there was any one thing because it really is the entire global spectrum of care, from the minute he collapsed until the ongoing care he's receiving right now in the ICU.

DYKES: Thank you.

KATHERINE FITZERALD, SPORTS REPORTER, "THE BUFFALO NEWS": Hi, this is Katherine Fitzgerald from "The Buffalo News." Thanks for all of this clarity and everything you're doing.

I was wondering if you could just add a bit more context on what next steps will look like for recovery for Damar. You mentioned how his health puts him in a good position but just from a human standpoint just kind of what is the process like from here for him?

KNIGHT: Yes, from our -- a great question and there are many, many steps still ahead of him. From our exchange point we would like to see him continue to improve. To be completely breathing on his own and then to be discharged from the hospital. Those are the immediate next steps.

His family has been with him at his bedside as have members of the Buffalo Bills organization since this began. And we really want to get him home to them. and so those will the immediate next steps and then we'll talk about, you know, potential plans for the future.



LIZ BONIS, MEDICAL REPORTER, KRCT CINCINNATI: Hey, guys, it is Liz Bonis from the KRCT Cincinnati. And so excited to talk to you for the first time. And you have made such a difference showcasing the city and the great medical care here.

A couple of things. I have heard that he had to be trached on the field, and if you can comment on that, and as a result some lung challenges.

And I also wondered, kind of from here, what about the physical constraints now? Do you fully expect him to walk and talk? Sounds like the brain function is good as you have talked about, but what about the rest?

KNIGHT: I can answer the first question, Liz. He was not trached on the field. He was intubated on what I would deem a textbook resuscitation on the field from the immediate bystander CPR and defibrillation, airway management, and then transport to the hospital.

It is critical to do that at the scene where the cardiac arrest is and that portends the best recovery.

There was no trach or airway other than the tracheal tube that he has.

As for the long-term recovery, we are focused on the right now. He has a little ways to go in terms of the liberation from the ventilator.

And I believe that is the focus right now in terms of helping him to recover, liberate and continue to get stronger and rehabilitate, but it is entirely too early to project into the future.

BONIS: So, is there any reason that you don't expect him to make a full recovery?

KNIGHT: Again, more focusing on the right now, but I don't have any reason to expect or not expect anything in the future based on what is going on right now.

BONIS: And last thing, lots of people are praying for you guys, and they have wondered if you have felt it?

KNIGHT: Yes, we have. It has been powerful. We have been surrounded by a great, and I think that we keep using the word team in that by Dr. Pritts and I getting to know the amazing family and organization.

Of in a matter of 48 hours having friends and family of the hugs and the tears that have been already shed by the progress that has been made.

But then looking outside and I have to look over my left shoulder, and I can see the vigils and the posters and the well-wishers and the food showing up for the hospitals and the support for the family and the Emergency Department and the surgical ICU team, and the support for the family.

And Damar's family has been great, and here for the entire stay.

And have we felt it? Yes. It does not take long to look outside and see the blue and red and the support of the city of Cincinnati and the support of the fans and the people concerned.

And so, yes, it has been very powerful.

DONIS: Does Damar know it, too?

KNIGHT: He is learning it today.

PRITTS: Learning it today.

BONIS: Excellent. Thank you, guys.

COLEY HARVEY, JOURNALIST, ESPN: Hi, guys. This is Coley Harvey from ESPN. And echoing everyone else, thank you so much for taking this opportunity to talk to us.

I actually have two questions, and I wanted to piggyback on the last point.

You have mentioned that there's a level of communication with Damar writing. I am curious as to what you are able to see that he's understanding or processing what all has happened to him in the last couple of days?

PRITTS: Yes, we have discussed, you know, with him what happened, and he is not quite to the point where we can have a conversation, because he has a breathing tube in, able to communicate with yeses and nos, by communicating with brief notes.

And he has been surprised that he was not with the world for two days. And, you know, we have talked to him about all of the support given from Cincinnati, Buffalo and really across the country for him and his family during this time.

His mom and dad have talked to him about what has happened, and it is expected to have ongoing conversations with him.

Again, the first, you know, the first question when he wrote when he started to awaken is ,did we win? So we know that it is not only that the lights are on, but he is home, and appears that all of the cylinders are firing in the brain.

Which is greatly gratifying for all of us and the nurses and the respiratory therapists and the care team at the side for his family and everybody else beyond.

HARVEY: And the last question is, what comes next? What are you all looking to see next as you begin to go forward with his recovery?

[13:55:00] PRITTS: Well, we want to see him continue to breathe more on his own, and we want to see him breathing completely on his own, and that is the next big milestone for him.

HARVEY: Thank you, guys, so much.

ADAM KILGORE, NATIONAL SPORTS REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Doctors, Adam Kilgore with "The Washington Post." Thank you for doing this.

At this stage, what would you project to be the best-case scenario for Damar's ultimate return to function?

KNIGHT: I think that -- I mean, what is the best? The best is to get him at the way he was 8:00 Monday evening, and complete neurologically intact, strong, good lung function, and no cardiac dysfunction with his heart, and the best outcome is back to who he was before all of this happened.

KILGORE: Thank you.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Hi. This is Jacqueline Howard from CNN. And thank you so much for taking my question. And thank you for all of the work that you guys are doing.

I have some questions about the chain of events and what happened. We are curious if he had a second resuscitation at the hospital?

And then how long was the defibrillator used and the total minutes of CPR?

And lastly, can you confirm if he is moving his hands and feet at this time. Thank you.

PRITTS: I will start in reverse. He is moving his hands and feet, and again, he appears to be neurologically intact to both our exam and neurology exams.

So, he appears to be doing he received one defibrillation and CPR on the field. He did not receive a second defibrillation or CPR once he was in the ambulance or at the hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Doctors, thank you for doing this.

To clarify something that was said, the best is to get him back to the way he was prior to the injury. And does that mean that the door is open for him to play professional football again?

And then in the more immediate term, what's the reasonable amount of time to suspect that he will remain in intensive care and in the hospital as a whole?

KNIGHT: I think that the answer to the first question about his future in professional football is that it is entirely too early to have that conversation. He is critically ill in the ICU and our view is to get him on the road

to recovery, and it is truly too early to have that conversation, and I already forgot the second question.

I've already answered that question. I apologize.

PRITTS: The real next steps are to allow him to get better, and we are focused on the day-to-day, and then we will talk about next steps after that.

TOM PUCKETT, RADIO JOURNALIST, WBEN930 RADIO: This is Tom Puckett from WBEN930 Radio in Buffalo.

And I know that you answered Chris' question about the time frame for Damar Hamlin's return to pro football, but how much post hospitalization and physical therapy and the likes will he need before he gets clearance to return to football?

KNIGHT: Yes, that is a very good question. And this is a very -- and it is really individualized to each person. And that process of recovery, rehabilitation starts to really engage and involve physical therapist, and rehab physicians in terms are what are his needs.

He was incredibly sick in the ICU. And we expect that as he continues to recover, as we get his nutrition back up to par, his strength back up to par in his rehab and recovery.

So it will be a very individualized tailored plan the will become a lot more clear when we're in the phase, which we're still a little ways out from.

TAPPER: All right, let's break away from the press conference that we have been watching from some time and listening to from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where the doctors were giving an update on Damar Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills' safety who experienced a cardiac arrest during a recent game.

And it was shocking. But the doctors had good news, talking about Hamlin's substantial improvement, that they were significantly concerned after he was brought in.


His neurological condition and fitness are intact, they said, although obviously a lot more needs to happen before they can come to any long- term conclusions.

Let's bring in the chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, give us the headlines that you heard from your medical point of view?