Scalise improving but still critical, doctors say

House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise was at "imminent risk of death" when he arrived at a hospital Wednesday after sustaining a gunshot to his hip during baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, his doctor said Friday.

"When he arrived, he was in critical condition with an imminent risk of death," Dr. Jack Sava, director of trauma at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, said in a briefing on the congressman's condition. "He will certainly be in the hospital for a considerable period of time, presumably weeks."

However, Sava added that Scalise's condition had stabilized over the past two days, saying "an excellent recovery is a good possibility."

A single bullet traveled across Scalise's pelvis when he was shot Wednesday, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs and causing severe bleeding, Sava said. He was transported in shock to the medical center.

The congressman's chief of staff, Brett Horton, read a statement from Jennifer Scalise, the congressman's wife. She said the family is "forever grateful for the heroism of Special Agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey, who saved the lives of everyone at the baseball field that morning."

Sava said Capitol Police officer Crystal Griner sustained an ankle gunshot wound. She remains in the hospital, is in good condition and is in good spirits, he said.

Sava said the doctors were encouraged by Scalise's progress over the past 36 hours but he will remain in the hospital for some time.

"The round fragmented and did substantial damage to bones, internal organs, and blood vessels. I understand he was awake on scene, but by the time he was transported by helicopter to the MedStar Trauma Center he was in shock," he said.

Sava said Scalise has been sedated, but doctors have been able to reduce sedation to allow Scalise to communicate with his family. Scalise is expected to fully recover and be able to walk, Sava said.

"We have controlled the internal bleeding and his vital signs have stabilized," Sava said.

MedStar Washington Hospital Center previously issued a statement on Scalise's condition Friday.

"Earlier today, [Scalise] underwent a second surgery related to his internal injuries and a broken bone in his leg. He remains in critical condition, but has improved in the last 24 hours. The Congressman will require additional operations, and will be in the hospital for some time. At the request of the family, we will continue to provide periodic updates," the statement said.

President Trump said Friday that Scalise "took a bullet for all of us" when he was shot Wednesday morning at a congressional Republican baseball practice.

The president's meaning was unclear as he made the comments at an event on Cuba policy in Miami. But Trump went on to say that "Because of him and the tremendous pain and suffering he's now enduring -- and he's having a hard time, far worse than anybody thought -- our country will perhaps become closer, more unified, so important.

"So we all owe Steve a big, big thank you," Trump added.

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