His day job is congressman, but Raul Ruiz quickly sprung to action Thursday when he had to unexpectedly put his former job's skills to the test.
Ruiz, 41, a Harvard-trained doctor, used his emergency room experience to help stabilize the ill man. The congressman found weak pulse and was suffering from cold sweats, according to the newspaper.
The report said the ill man's wife, whom it did not identify by name, said that her husband is diabetic. Ruiz, however, said that the man's blood sugar levels were normal, the Sun reported.
"The possibilities could've been catastrophic for him" if the plane had not made an emergency landing in Raleigh, N.C., Ruiz was quoted as saying.
By the time the plane landed, the man was conscious and speaking, the publication said. A firefighter aboard and a flight attendant also helped, reports said.
U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, a Texas Democrat, was also on the American Airlines flight from Washington, D.C. He tweeted Thursday that it was "impressive" to see Ruiz in action. Gallego said Ruiz "saves lives" and he hopes his colleague is on all his flights home.
Ruiz represents southern California's 36th Congressional District, which covers much of the Coachella Valley, including Palm Springs.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.