WASHINGTON (AP) House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, grievously wounded in a shooting at a baseball practice last month, underwent surgery for infection and remains in serious condition in the intensive care unit at a Washington hospital, the medical facility said Thursday.
The six-term Louisiana congressman and third-ranking House Republican “tolerated the procedure well,” MedStar Washington Hospital Center said in a statement after the surgery for management of the infection, one of several Scalise has undergone.
The lawmaker had been readmitted to the intensive care unit, the hospital said late Wednesday, and his condition was downgraded to serious.
Scalise and four other people were injured June 14 when a gunman opened fire on a Republican baseball practice in nearby Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. Capitol Police and other officers returned fire and killed the gunman. The rifle-wielding attacker had nursed grievances against President Donald Trump and the GOP.
The 51-year-old congressman was struck in the hip and the bullet tore into blood vessels, bones and internal organs. He has had several surgeries and had been upgraded to fair condition.
Scalise’s trauma surgeon, Dr. Jack Sava, told reporters last month that Scalise had arrived at the hospital in shock, with intense internal bleeding and “an imminent risk of death.” Scalise received multiple blood transfusions, which can affect clotting. Infection also is a risk, especially if the intestines were perforated.
The shooting in the Virginia suburb that critically wounded Scalise and injured several others has forced members of Congress to examine their security arrangements to determine if they are sufficient.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has said she favors more money for the U.S. Capitol Police force, which is seeking an 8 percent increase to nearly $427 million for next year. Pelosi, a California Democrat, said more money would help the agency enhance its presence when members of Congress, staff and others congregate away from the Capitol.
“It’s security for other people who are there, too,” she said at one point. “If somebody is coming after a member of Congress, you don’t want to be anywhere nearby.”
Members of the U.S. Capitol Police engaged in a shootout with the assailant during the Alexandria incident, and lawmakers said their presence probably prevented many deaths. Two police officers were injured; the shooter, James Hodgkinson, later died.
The police were at the ballfield in Virginia because Scalise is the majority whip and a member of the leadership. Other members of Congress are not afforded the same security as congressional leaders.