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La. Congressman Scalise 'more responsive', speaking with family after surgery

1 week 3 days 21 hours ago June 17, 2017 Jun 17, 2017 Saturday, June 17 2017 June 17, 2017 6:49 PM in News
Source: WBRZ

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise is reportedly showing more signs of improvement after undergoing another surgery Saturday morning.

According to an update from MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Scalise has become "more responsive" and is speaking with his loved ones.

The congressman remains in serious condition and will likely stay in the D.C. hospital for many days to come as doctors continue to treat injuries from a rifle gunshot wound.

Scalise was shot by a gunman who appeared to have targeted Republican members of congress while the group was practicing for a charity baseball game. Scalise was one of four people shot and sustained the most traumatic injuries. The gunman was shot and killed by a security detail assigned to Scalise, who is a ranking member of congress.

At a news conference Friday, doctors updated his condition and said they are more confident about his recovery than Wednesday when, doctors said, Scalise was in an “imminent risk of death.”

Scalise was awake immediately after being shot Wednesday, but had gone into shock by the time he reached the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery and numerous other procedures. Another surgery was done Thursday and he remained sedated Friday, but was able to recognize and respond to close family members.

“We are encouraged by the improvement in his condition over the last 36 hours,” Dr. Jack Sava said. Sava is the head of trauma at MedStar Washington Medical Center where Scalise is being treated.

Sava said the bullet entered the left hip and moved toward the other hip, falling apart as it collided with bones and internal tissue. Fragments of the bullet damaged bones, organs and blood vessels.

Doctors were adamant Scalise remained in a serious medical state and in ICU but his vitals had stabilized. Congressman Scalise will require additional surgeries once he recovers from the immediate medical care he is experiencing now, doctors said.

Bullet fragments – possibly hundreds of them – remain in Scalise, doctors said, and advised it was safer that way than trying to remove them.

“There's more risk involved to remove them,” so there is no intention to try and take any piece out, Sava said.

Scalise required many units of blood. There was a blood drive at the Louisiana State Capitol Friday morning ahead of the news conference in D.C.

Sava said Scalise will will require healing and rehabilitation and would likely be hospitalized for a few weeks.

Should all go well, Scalise will likely be able to have all of his mobility back.

Jennifer Scalise, the congressman's wife, is hopeful of his full recovery and asked for people to keep praying for her husband and the others shot on the suburban D.C. baseball field.

“Our family asks that you continue to pray,” she said through a spokesperson who shared the family's statement ahead of the news conference with the doctor Friday.

Jennifer Scalise found out about the shooting through a phone call from Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake who said he did not want Scalise's family to find out about the shooting on the news. The shooting happened outside Washington, D.C., around 7 a.m. Louisiana time.

The Scalise family appreciates the support from people in Louisiana and elsewhere, the family's spokesperson said.

“I want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts,” Jennifer Scalise said in her statement.

She acknowledged the efforts of the security team assigned to her husband, Capitol Police officers Krystal Griner and David Bailey, who were also injured.

“We are forever grateful for the bravery of Krystal Griner and David Bailey,” Jennifer Scalise said.

The two officers will recover from their wounds.

Video posted online by national news outlets Wednesday afternoon captured the moment the gunman opened fire.  Click HERE to see the full 5-minute video. 

For five minutes, an eyewitness records James T. Hodgkinson fire off rounds until he was shot by the officers. Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks used his belt as a tourniquet to stop Scalise from bleeding.

Hodgkinson has an extensive history of traffic violations and petty offenses in St. Clair County, Illinois, spanning from 1989 to 2011, according to online county court records. The vast majority of the cases are traffic violations and nearly all of them were later dismissed. The most recent conviction on his record was for a "petty offense" of failure to obtain an electrical contractor's license in 2009. 

The FBI is leading the investigation into the shooting, but said earlier in the week there does not appear to be any link to terrorism. 

The congressional ball game the congressman was practicing for when he was shot went on as scheduled Thursday.  LSU provided purple and gold merchandise for players to wear in honor of Scalise.  The game raised more than $1,000,000 - double its fundraising effort in 2016.

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Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz

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