US lawmaker Scalise improving after baseball field shooting

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When he arrived at the hospital, however, he was in a state of shock. The doctor described how a bullet from an assault rifle entered Scalise's hip and traversed his pelvis, shattering blood vessels, bones and internal organs along the way.

Top US Republican lawmaker Steve Scalise remains hospitalized in critical condition after being shot this week but has improved, his surgeon said Friday as he expressed optimism about the legislator's prospects for recovery. Since then, the lawmaker has undergone multiple surgeries and procedures to stop the bleeding and fix bone. While he's still under sedation, Sava says Scalise has responded to family members.

The 51-year-old Scalise, as well as a police officer, a congressional aide and a lobbyist, were wounded on Wednesday when a man identified as James Hodgkinson, 66, from the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Illinois, opened fire on the lawmakers who were practising for an annual charity baseball game between Republicans and Democrats.

Sava said doctors will not attempt to remove what are likely to be hundreds of bullet fragments from Scalise's body, saying the risk of such a procedure typically outweighs the potential benefits. Damage from a bullet occurs when it's traveling. The trauma director said it was too soon to estimate how long hospitalization would be necessary. "I feel a lot more optimistic than I did two, three days ago". "His risk of death right now is substantially lower than when he came in".

After additional surgeries and rehabilitation, Scalise can be expected to walk "and hopefully run", Sava said. Scalise will undergo more operations. "He clearly knows that they're there and appreciates their presence", Sava said.

Witnesses said the shooting would have been a "massacre" if not for the Capitol Police officers on duty as part of Scalise's security detail and the gunfight that ensued as local law enforcement arrived.

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Because of Scalise, Trump said, "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 we all owe Steve a big, big thank you", Trump added.

House Speaker Paul Ryan paid a visit to his injured colleague at the hospital Friday.

The congresswoman's wife, Jennifer, issued a statement Friday thankful for "the incredible amount of prayers and warm wishes we have received".

Hodgkinson posted content favorable to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on his social media accounts and signed a Change.org petition for the removal of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

The FBI said that the shooter's weapons found at the scene - a 9mm handgun and 7.62mm caliber rifle - had been legally purchased.

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