Sharing hope: ABC’s Bob Woodruff on Gabrielle Giffords and recovery from traumatic brain injury

In 2006, ABC news reporter Bob Woodruff was on the ground covering the war in Iraq when a roadside bomb detonated near the vehicle in which he was traveling. The shockwave drove rock and shrapnel into his helmet, literally rattling his brain inside his skull.

Woodruff awoke more than a month later, only to begin a long road to recovery. His journey is one that is shared by an estimated 80,000 to 90,000 Americans each year who suffer traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

It was a long road to recovery for Woodruff, who is now back on the job and has actually returned to Iraq to meet with those who saved his life. He discussed some of the similar circumstances involved in his recovery to the road Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is now traveling.

It is hard to remember how I felt at that very moment when my life changed in an instant. Although I had covered wars for years as a journalist I never really thought about death, let alone traumatic brain injuries.

I didn’t know Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords but my assumption is she never imagined that a gunshot would put her where she is either.

Like the doctors who saved me almost five years ago, her surgeons knew exactly what to do. Her brain was swelling just like mine. They removed part of her skull on the left side of her head almost exactly like mine, and she is now in a drug-induced coma so that her brain can recover. For me it was 36 days before I woke up.

But in one way her case is more hopeful. She responded to verbal commands by the doctors and reacted by squeezing their finger, indicating she understood, although she could not speak. I never heard the words and never squeezed my doctors’ fingers when they tried to get me to respond.

So now Ms. Giffords’ family and friends are on the long or short road. When she awakes, which I believe will happen, we will know about her future. No one really knows right now how long that road will be.

Here is an interview with Woodruff:


Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

20 year old gay intern may have saved Giffords’ life

John just posted this at AMERICAblog.com.

Arizona Republic:

When the shots began that morning, he saw many people lying on the ground, including a young girl. Some were bleeding. Hernandez said he moved from person to person checking pulses.

“First the neck, then the wrist,” he said. One man was already dead. Then he saw Giffords. She had fallen and was lying contorted on the sidewalk. She was bleeding.

Using his hand, Hernandez applied pressure to the entry wound on her forehead. He pulled her into his lap, holding her upright against him so she wouldn’t choke on her own blood. Giffords was conscious, but quiet.

Ron Barber, Giffords’ district director, was next to her. Hernandez told a bystander how to apply pressure to one of Barber’s wounds.

The fact that Hernandez was nearby and able to react quickly probably saved Giffords’ life, said state Rep. Matt Heinz, D-Tucson, and a hospital physician.

Joe.My.God reports, via the Dallas Voice (which is down right now), that Hernandez is openly gay.

According to his Facebook page, Hernandez serves as a Commissioner on the Tucson Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues (GLBT).




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Watch: CNN Interviews Daniel Hernandez, the Gay Intern Credited with Saving Congresswoman Giffords’ Life

Hernandez

Daniel Hernandez Jr., the gay intern who helped Gabreille Giffords survive in the moments after she was shot and is being credited by many with saving her life, does not take credit to doing so, instead crediting emergency personnel. In this interview, he discusses those moments and the actions he took before medical crews arrived on the scene.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP



Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

CNN Interviews Gay Hero Daniel Hernandez On Rep. Giffords Shooting


(Via – AmericaBlog)

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Gay Intern Helped Save The Life Of Gabrielle Giffords

Daniel Hernandez Jr., an openly gay 20-year-old intern for Gabrielle Giffords, is being credited with saving the congresswoman's life.

Daniel Hernandez, who confirmed that he is gay in an interview with Instant Tea on Sunday morning, is a member of the City of Tucson Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues. “She’s been a great ally to the LGBT community,” Hernandez said of Giffords during the brief interview across a bad connection.

According to the Arizona Republic, Hernandez was standing about 30 feet from Giffords during the “Congress on Your Corner” event outside a Safeway store near Tucson. When the gunshots began, Hernandez ran toward them and began checking the pulses of people who’d been hit. When Hernandez got to Giffords, he used his hand to apply pressure to the entry wound on her forehead.  He pulled her into his lap and held her upright so she wouldn’t choke on her blood.

Hernandez, who has experience in triage, spoke to Christiane Amanpour this morning about his immediate instincts right after the shooting. ABC News reports:

"When this happened, I kind of just shut off all emotion because I knew I wouldn't be any good to anyone if I had a breakdown," Hernendez remembered. "I had to lift up the congresswoman because she was severely injured, and I wanted to make sure that she was able to breathe okay because there was so much blood." Hernendez used smocks from the grocery store to bandage the wounded victims.

"The congresswoman was alert. She was able to hold my hand when I asked her if she could hear me," said Hernendez. "I wasn't able to get any words from her. She may have been trying, but because of the way that I was having to hold her it was a lot easier to just 'if you can hear me Gabby just grab my hand to let me know that you're okay.'"

Hernandez had only been an intern for Representative Giffords for only five days.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Gay Latino Hero: Daniel Hernandez, Jr. saved Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ life

Daniel Hernandez, Jr. was the right man in the right place at the right time.  Just five days into his internship for Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, the 20-year old college student was checking people into Rep. Gifford’s “Congress on Your Corner” event when the shooting started.

According to Arizona Republic, Hernandez started assisting victims before the shooting even stopped.

When the shots began that morning, he saw many people lying on the ground, including a young girl. Some were bleeding. Hernandez said he moved from person to person checking pulses.

“First the neck, then the wrist,” he said. One man was already dead. Then he saw Giffords. She had fallen and was lying contorted on the sidewalk. She was bleeding.

Using his hand, Hernandez applied pressure to the entry wound on her forehead. He pulled her into his lap, holding her upright against him so she wouldn’t choke on her own blood. [snip]

Hernandez used his hand to apply pressure until someone from inside Safeway brought him clean smocks from the meat department. He used them to apply pressure on the entrance wound, unaware there was an exit wound. He never let go of her.

He stayed with Giffords until paramedics arrived. They strapped her to a board and loaded her into an ambulance. Hernandez climbed in with her. On the ride to the hospital, he held her hand. She squeezed his back.

Hernandez’s immediate actions probably saved her life, a hospital physician said.

Daniel is a Latino man.  According to Dallas Voice, Daniel is also gay and a member of the City of Tucson Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues.

Like Mark Bingham, the gay rugby player who helped thwart the plans of the 911 hijackers on Flight 93, and like the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender soldiers still serving in silence in our military under threat of expulsion, Daniel’s actions remind us that LGBT Americans are actively serving society.  A society that is over 90% heterosexual.

Like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Monica Marquez and Speaker of the California Assembly John Pérez, Daniel’s actions remind us that Latino Americans are actively serving society at large, a society that is 85% non-Latino.

Andr?s Duque from Blabbeando so beautifully encapsulates the significance of Daniel Hernandez’s actions to the Latino and LGBT communities:

Of course, from the accounts, Daniel is a hero regardless of whether he’s Latino or gay or Irish or purple.

But it’s striking that in a state that has unfortunately become a national standard-bearer for some of the worst xenophobic sentiments in the current political climate, it IS a Latino man who happens to be gay who decided to stay by Congresswoman’s Giffords’ side and might very well have saved her life.

I can’t help but be moved at how such a selfless gesture can cut straight through all those efforts to demonize Latinos – or gays – specially in light of recent events in Arizona.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

UPDATE: AZ U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords clears surgery after attempted assassination in Tucson

4:05 PM ET: From live presser re: AZ shooting – surgeon says he’s “as optimistic as he can be” about Giffords’ recovery (full recovery unclear). Surgery over. One child shot has died. Federal authorities identify the gunman as Jared Laughner of Arizona, born September 1988.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was hosting her first “Congress on Your Corner” at a Safeway supermarket in northwest Tucson when she and at least 12 people were shot.

This is the first female member of Congress targeted for assassination; Giffords is a member of the LGBT Caucus. From LGBTPOV:

This blogger notes that Gifford was on Sarah Palin’s political hit list for her support of healthcare reform. The blogger agrees and says: “I intend to do my part to help make her pay.”
“As those of us who follow Sarah Palin’s political activity are aware, the former Governor of Alaska has strongly recommended that We the People Take Back the 20 in the November elections. The 20 under discussion are legitimately vulnerable Democrats up for reelection to Congress this fall and who also live in voting districts that went for McCain/Palin in 2008. One of those Democrats is Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona’s District 8.

Gaby Giffords is also on my personal political hit list, primarily because Pam and I live in Cochise County, Arizona, which is part of District 8. We don’t appreciate our Representative going against our wishes and voting for Obama’s Health Care Deformed…and I intend to do my part to help make her pay.”

From CNN:

UPDATE: The right-wing blogger took his post down but here’s a screencap:

UPDATE #2: Sarah Palin has taken down a page from the SarahPAC website that showed Rep. Giffords and others targeted in Tea Party cross hairs.

Sarah Palin’s statement on her Facebook page: (be sure to check out the comments)

My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona.

On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.

- Sarah Palin

Statement from the President:

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

_____________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 8, 2011

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

This morning, in an unspeakable tragedy, a number of Americans were shot in Tucson, Arizona, at a constituent meeting with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  And while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away, and that Representative Giffords is gravely wounded.

We do not yet have all the answers.  What we do know is that such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society.  I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping Representative Giffords, the victims of this tragedy, and their families in our prayers.

UPDATE 3: Giffords interviewed recently about being “targeted”:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

“We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but, the thing is, that the way that she has it depicted, has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.”

 
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

HRC Statement on Shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Reacting to the tragic shooting involving U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.  HRC President Joe Solmonese today released the following statement:

“We are shocked and saddened by the events involving Congresswoman Giffords and our hearts go out to her and the other victims of this awful tragedy.  Gabby Giffords is a champion for LGBT equality and a principled leader for Arizona.  We wish her a speedy recovery as our thoughts and prayers are with her family as well as with the families of all of those touched by today’s horrific violence.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is supporter of LGBT equality

There is extensive coverage about the shooting of Rep. Giffords, a federal judge (who died) and several others at AMERICAblog.com. Giffords is an LGBT ally in Congress. she voted for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (twice) and the Hate Crimes bill. The Washington Blade has more.

Arizona Progress
will have updates, too. There are vigils in Arizona and DC.

There’s an enormous amount of attention focused on Sarah Palin’s targeting of Giffords last year.

And, there’s this infamous tweet, which has apparently been deleted, but was captured by Scoot Wooledge:

Last March 25th, Giffords was on MSNBC after her office was vandalized. The Congresswoman talked about being on that targeted list of Sarah Palin, noting “the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that they’ve got to realize there are consequences to that action.” Chuck Todd appeared to dismiss Giffords’ concern stating, “in the moment it may look bad.”

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Congresswoman Giffords Celebrated DADT Repeal With Tweet

Skyline The Dallas Voice points out that Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords tweeted the message below as well as the photo above of a sunset in Arizona in celebration of last months repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."

Gg1
Giffords has a very good history of supporting LGBT rights, having scored 81% on Human Rights Campaign’s 2008 Congressional Scorecard.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin