"Is there a nurse in the house?"
July 24, 2006 -- Today the People Magazine site posted an unsigned Reuters item headlined "Miss Universe Passes Out at Pageant." The piece reports that newly crowned Miss Universe Rico Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza of Puerto Rico fainted--just 40 minutes into her "reign"--at a "post-pageant news conference" at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Mendoza apparently recovered immediately. The story is notable because it reports that the press conference organizer/announcer issued the following call for help just after the fainting: "Is there a nurse in the house?"
The piece describes Mendoza's fainting and her subsequent condition, though details on the latter seem a bit sketchy. At the press conference, Mendoza reportedly vowed to carry out the work of the Miss Universe Organization, which is "to help those with HIV/AIDS." At one point, Mendoza apparently began having trouble. Reuters records what happened in this finely calibrated prose:
Having lingered on stage, Mendoza was leaning on some assistants when her face fell to her chest, her new tiara atop her head. Tottering on high, spiky heels, she appeared to lean in this fashion for about 10 seconds and, at 8:38 p.m., collapsed in the arms of pageant assistants.
Mendoza was rushed off stage, but she apparently recovered within a minute. She later attended the Coronation Ball, after which no less an authority than Miss Universe Organization co-owner Donald Trump assured the press that she was "fine." Pageant representative Lark Anton reportedly suggested that the 18-year-old Mendoza had become dizzy because of the heat on stage and her tight, heavy dress.
Reuters notes that as Mendoza was rushed offstage, the unidentified organizer of the press conference "called for aid": "Is there a nurse in the house? Can a nurse come to the stage?" Unfortunately, the piece does not say whether a nurse actually did come to Mendoza's aid.
We are astonished at this alteration of the traditional "doctor in the house" query. Of course, at the most basic level, this sends a great message about the skills of nurses, since at this point the announcer presumably did not know what was wrong with Mendoza; it could have been something immediately life-threatening. On the other hand, we suppose the announcement could also be taken as a suggestion that no physician is likely to be attending a Miss Universe pageant, but nurses are--a suggestion that would not necessarily increase respect for nursing in the public as a whole.
We thank Reuters for including this nurse-related reporting in its post-pageant news coverage.