Doctor: Scalise improving, came in at 'imminent risk of death'

Doctor: Scalise improving, came in at 'imminent risk of death'
© Greg Nash

House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse pays tribute to late Congressman Sam Johnson on the floor Rep. Banks launches bid for RSC chairman House cancels planned Thursday vote on FISA MORE (R-La.), who was shot on Wednesday as he practiced with other GOP lawmakers for a charity baseball game, will likely remain in the hospital for weeks, Dr. Jack Sava, the director of trauma at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, said Friday.

The No. 3 House Republican will also require additional operations before leaving the hospital Sava said, though he added that an "excellent recovery is a good possibility."

Scalise sustained a single gunshot wound in the hip that traveled across the congressman's body to his other hip — called a transpelvic gunshot wound, according to Sava, who spoke to reporters at a news conference Friday afternoon. 

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Scalise was shot along with three other victims on Wednesday when a gunman opened fire at a park in Alexandria, Va., where a group of Republican lawmakers were holding an early-morning baseball practice. 

The shooter was identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill. Hodgkinson was shot by police at the scene of the attack and later died of multiple gunshot wounds to the torso. 

Scalise was rushed to MedStar Washington and immediately underwent emergency surgery.

"He was as critical as can be when he came in," Sava said, adding that Scalise was at "imminent risk of death."

Of immediate concern to doctors when Scalise arrived was hemorrhaging. After an initial operation, the congressman was taken to a radiology suite for another procedure to control bleeding.

Sava said that, while Scalise remains in critical condition, his risk of death is substantially lower now than when he came in. The congressman's vital signs have stabilized and his internal bleeding is under control, according to the doctor, who said Scalise's physicians were "encouraged" by his progress but remained cautious.

"It’s my job to be pessimistic, so if you accuse me of being optimistic, I feel bad about that," Sava said. "I feel a lot more confident than I did two, three days ago."

Capitol Police officer Crystal Griner, who was also wounded in the attack, sustained a gunshot wound to her ankle and remains in the hospital, though she is expected to recover and remains in good condition, Sava said.