Rep. Steve Scalise is still in critical condition, but his health is improving, the Congressman's surgeon said two days after Scalise was shot at a practice for the Congressional Baseball Game.
Scalise, 51, was in dire condition when he was first shot, but internal bleeding is under control and the prognosis is positive.
"I think that an excellent recovery is a good possibility," Dr. Jack Sava, director of trauma at MedStar Washington Hospital Center said at a news conference Friday afternoon.
Scalise is sedated, but the husband and father of two has been able to respond to his doctors and family.
"He clearly knows they're there and appreciates their presence," Sava said.
The House of Representatives' No. 3 Republican leader was in grave condition when he was first shot.
"He was in critical condition with an imminent risk of death," Sava said.
He suffered a rifle wound in his left hip that shattered bones, tore organs and caused severe bleeding. Hundreds of bullet fragments remain in his body.
Lobbyist Matt Mika was shot multiple times and remains hospitalized. Also hurt but released from hospitals were two Capitol Police officers, David Bailey and Crystal Griner, and House GOP aide Zack Barth.
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President Donald Trump said Friday that Steve Scalise “took a bullet for all of us.”
The president said that because of the “tremendous pain and suffering he’s now enduring ... our country will perhaps become closer, more unified.” The president made his comments as he spoke in Miami to announce a new policy on Cuba.
Trump added that Scalise is “having a hard time, far worse than anybody thought” following the shooting Wednesday.
Scalise has undergone multiple surgeries and will need more.
Investigators studying Wednesday's attack at a suburban Virginia park said Thursday that shooter James Hodgkinson had obtained his rifle and handgun from licensed firearms dealers. Capitol Police said they had "no evidence to suggest that the purchases were not lawful."
Hodgkinson, a Belleville, Illinois, home inspector who had been living out of his van near the park, had a social media page filled with criticism of Republicans and the Trump administration. He died after officers in Scalise's security detail and local police fired at him.
As congressional Republicans and Democrats joined Thursday night in their annual baseball game, played this year in Scalise's honor, word came from the hospital that he remained in critical condition, but had "improved in the last 24 hours."
Colleagues who visited Scalise, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, sounded generally upbeat, but spoke more in terms of hopes than the confident predictions of the immediate aftermath a day earlier.
Democrat Cedric Richmond, a fellow Louisiana congressman, said as many others did that Scalise is a fighter. "I'm prayerful he will pull through, and I hope he does," he said.
Scalise was fielding ground balls at second base Wednesday when he was shot at a practice for the annual Republicans-Democrats baseball game. Richmond, who plays for the Democratic team, said he had visited the hospital multiple times.