NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - When gunfire erupted Wednesday as Rep. Steve Scalise played second base in a practice baseball game, one of the shots tore through his pelvis. Doctors at MedStar Washington Hospital Center immediately performed surgery.
"The surgical team probably went in and bypassed arteries or veins that were injured and repaired them and took care of the bleeding," said Dr. John Hunt, the LSU trauma medical director at University Medical Center.
Hunt said after surgeons stopped the bleeding, they would've likely tried to control any contamination.
"An injury to the colon, an injury to the intestine, we'll go ahead and repair those or cut those segments of bowel out," Hunt explained.
The hospital announced in a statement Wednesday afternoon that with fractured bones, injured internal organs and loss of blood, Scalise was in critical condition. On Thursday, President Donald Trump said in a press conference that Scalise was "in some trouble."
"It doesn't necessarily reflect that he's immediately in life-threatening danger, but he certainly needs a high level of surveillance to make sure nothing bad happens to him in his post-op period," Hunt said.
Hunt said Scalise is in excellent hands with the trauma team at MedStar, but he stressed that a bullet from a high-powered rifle causes much more damage than one from a handgun. Hunt said the high-caliber weapon could explain why the congressman's injuries are so severe. Once out of the woods, Hunt said Scalise will have a long road to recovery.
"It could cause a loss of mobility in the hip, it's kind of a complicated joint, the pelvis," Hunt said.
Hunt doesn't foresee paralysis being a concern unless the bullet hit his spinal cord.
After two surgeries Wednesday immediately following the shooting, Scalise underwent a third surgery Thursday. Hunt said this latest surgery could be more repair work on his internal injuries, as the priority Wednesday was mainly to control bleeding.