With Louisiana's congressional delegation, there's always a good chance that there's a doctor in the house. Or in this case, on the train.
Wednesday's tragic collision in Virginia between an Amtrak train and a garbage truck as the train was ferrying Republican members to a retreat at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia brought U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy back to his roots. Before politics, Cassidy's first career was as a physician in Louisiana's Charity system, and when the accident happened, he jumped into action helping the injured and trying to save the life of the driver, who didn't survive. His wife Laura, a retired physician who was also on the trip, did too.
Also on the train were several other members with similar backgrounds, including U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, a surgeon and Iraq war combat veteran who also joined the impromptu team. Wenstrup has gotten more than his share of the action lately; he was also at the Virginia baseball field when a gunman fired on Republicans practicing for the annual congressional baseball game. His quick intervention helped his gravely injured colleague, U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, hold on until additional help could arrive, and Scalise has credited Wenstrup for with his life.
Louisiana has a small footprint in Congress, but the state is known for sending more than its share of medically inclined members to Washington. In addition to Cassidy, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, who was not on the train Wednesday, is also a doctor.
In the recent past, the delegation has had four physicians, a contingent that made up fully half the delegation. For two years, both Cassidy and Abraham overlapped with former U.S. Reps. John Fleming and Charles Boustany, who each gave up their seats in 2016 to run for Senate. They eventually lost to John Kennedy, who's got a more conventional background for a member of Congress. He's a lawyer.