COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Democratic presidential candidate and physician Howard Dean on Friday aided a woman who collapsed and struck her head outside an ice cream shop.

The woman, who is undergoing chemotherapy treatment, fell and “hit her head on the way down, which worried me,” Dean said.

The candidate, who practiced internal medicine before entering politics, advised her to look for signs of a concussion and waited with her until an ambulance came. When it arrived, however, she declined to take it.

The incident happened when Dean, on his way to the South Carolina Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner, stopped at a Ben & Jerry’s, appropriate for the former Vermont governor. Dean was in town for Saturday’s Democratic presidential primary debate.

Dean said it was the first time he had attended to a medical problem while on the presidential campaign trail, although he has aided accident victims during his tenure as governor.

“Move over Bill Frist,” Dean joked, referring to the Senate Majority Leader, Tennessee Republican senator and heart surgeon who has aided an ailing tourist at the Capitol Hill and helped a traffic accident victim earlier this year in Florida.

A subtle political message played in the background as the Democratic presidential candidates and South Carolina party activists mingled Friday night at the state’s Jefferson-Jackson fund-raising dinner.

Music by the Dixie Chicks played throughout the predinner cocktail hour. On Thursday, the band held its first U.S. concert, in Greenville, S.C., since lead singer Natalie Maines criticized President Bush at a London concert.

Many of the guests didn’t even recognize the music, but South Carolina Democratic chairman, Dick Harpootlian, said he chose the music to make a statement.

“Love those Chicks,” Harpootlian said. “Tell Natalie she can speak at my J-J anytime.”

After a very public tiff, Democratic presidential candidates John Edwards and Howard Dean made up when they ran into each other at the South Carolina Democratic Party’s fund-raiser Friday night.

In March, Dean, a former Vermont governor, apologized to Edwards for mischaracterizing a speech he gave to California Democrats.

Dean accused Edwards of failing to stand up for his vote to authorize war with Iraq in front of the largely anti-war crowd in Sacramento. But Dean was wrong: Edwards explained his vote and was booed and jeered.

Dean’s criticism angered Edwards and Dean sent a handwritten apology in March saying he hadn’t heard Edwards’ speech and was unaware of what the North Carolina senator had said when he criticized him.

“I thought that was a very high quality thing to do,” Edwards told Dean when they ran into each other Friday night. “I really did. You did the right thing.”

AP-ES-05-02-03 2225EDT

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