Vincent Basile, DO, wearing his pink and blue wench costume, in the 2023 Mummers parade
Einstein Untold: Unsung Heroes and Unknown Stories

Costumed Mummer Doctor Saves a Life – and Becomes a Celebrity

By on 01/10/2023

One in an ongoing series

Vincent Basile, DO, has performed CPR plenty of times. After all, he’s a third-year resident in Emergency Medicine at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia.

But before New Year’s Day, he’d never done it in public. In the middle of a packed football stadium. While wearing a pink dress with blue ruffles, his face boldly striped in paint.

But his ability to do so under those circumstances may have saved a life at the Eagles game and has certainly made him an instant media celebrity. The story about his rescue has been broadcast on every local TV station, social media and journalism site, on sports and city and news platforms galore.

 “It’s wild,” says Dr. Basile, as reporters tracked him down for interviews, and messages streamed in from friends, both close and out-of-touch, who heard of his heroics.

In the unlikely event you haven’t heard the story yet, here’s what happened:

Dr. Basile spent New Year’s morning doing what he’s done most of his life: walking Broad Street with the Mummers. He was born in South Philly, grew up in South Jersey and, after a hiatus during high school and college, he and a few college friends began marching again.

He’s been a wench with the Cara Liom brigade for seven years. And when the parade ended this year, he and his friends and their significant others hopped on the Broad Street subway and went to the Eagles game – dressed in full regalia.

“I’m a diehard Eagles fan,” he says.

During the second quarter of the game, there was a commotion behind where Dr. Basile and his girlfriend, attorney Alex Bondy, were sitting in Section 226, row 18.

“I didn’t pay much attention; I thought it was somebody doing something stupid,” Dr. Basile says – after all, it was an Eagles game.

But Bondy looked back, saw a man who’d apparently fallen, and urged Basile to go help.

“I look over and see somebody on the ground,” Dr. Basile says. “So I walk up and the first thing I have to do is convince the security guards who had gathered around him that I’m a doctor – I’m wearing a pink and blue dress and I have face paint – and I’m also a Mummer.”

Basile (center, in pink) surrounded by stadium security staff

They were skeptical, but they let him through.

“This man had apparently fallen a number of steps and was entangled in the railing,” Dr. Basile says. “He’s blue in the face. He’s not moving. He’s not breathing. There’s blood coming out of his mouth. I’m thinking, ‘This is not good.’”

Another spectator, a nurse, was already there. They took the man’s pulse, which they could barely feel.

“I kicked into work mode and told security to call paramedics and help me get him into position, where we could do CPR,” Dr. Basile said. He had fallen in an awkward position, chest and face down, feet in the air.

Dr. Basile and the nurse alternated doing compressions for about five minutes. The crowd around them grew quiet.

“By the end of that, the color came back in his face and he started waking up. He was very dazed and confused and we sat him up.”

When paramedics arrived, Dr. Basile went back to his seat to watch the rest of the game.

He has since been in touch with the family of the man who collapsed; he was released from the hospital Friday, and is doing well. Needless to say, the family is very grateful.

Dr. Basile’s composure in such wild circumstances redeems his decision to specialize in emergency medicine because “I felt like it fit my personality well,” he says.

Still, he’s a medical resident and though he’s performed CPR many times, it’s always been in the controlled circumstances of a hospital. How was he able to react so instinctively?

Vincent Basile and Alex Bondy

“When I saw him blue and not breathing, I kicked into work mode,” Dr Basile says. “It was kind of like a reflex – we see it in the emergency room all the time. I kind of zoned in, and kept going until he was better.

“The craziness of it all didn’t sink in until I was back in my seat,” he says. “I’d say I was a little shocked.”

Afterwards, when Dr. Basile went to the bathroom or the concession stand at the stadium, people were shaking his hand and calling him the “Mummer Doctor.”

And here’s how the story ends.

When the man who’d collapsed regained consciousness, he was disoriented but still had his priorities intact.  

“He asked me one thing,” Dr. Basile says. “”What’s the score of the game?’”

“I laughed.”

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