David Ortiz is still recovering from the gunshot wound he sustained in an attempted hit at a bar in the Dominican Republic, and now the surgeons who initially treated him are revealing how close the Boston Red Sox great was to mortal danger.
By the sound of it, Ortiz would be in a much scarier situation if he didn’t reach the hospital as soon as he did.
Warning, the following contains a stomach-churning recounting of major surgery.
David Ortiz’s life-saving surgery
Speaking with The Washington Post, Jose Smester, the surgeon who first attended to Ortiz, said that the 43-year-old suffered injuries to his liver, large intestine, small intestine and mesentery, the membrane that holds his intestines in place. Ortiz also had his gall bladder removed.
Thankfully, the bullet didn’t break apart in Ortiz’s body, nor did it hit nearby blood vessels like the aorta and inferior vena cava. Per Smester, Ortiz could have entered a “critical stage” if he wasn’t cared for immediately:
“The injuries he had were lethal, even separately, if they wouldn’t have been taken care of right away, especially the one on the liver,” Smester said. “But in that moment, you don’t think about death, you think about what you have to do.”
“The advantage is that he was always stable,” he added.
Jose Abel Gonzalez, the leader of the surgical team, told the Post that he found a liter of blood in Ortiz’s belly when he opened the abdomen and that Ortiz lost another half-liter during the surgery, which went from 10:30 p.m. local time to 3:30 a.m.
“It’s a lot [of blood loss],” Smester said. “It’s not enough to bring him to a shock, especially someone like him who weighs a lot. But yes, when we opened him, his stomach was full of blood.”
The surgery reportedly consisted of twice patching the bleeding liver and sewing Ortiz’s intestines back together. Ortiz’s small intestine was apparently pierced in three places and carried a danger of infection as his gut bacteria entered his abdomen.
Thankfully, Ortiz survived, and was stable enough to be transported to Boston where he underwent a second undisclosed surgery. He is reportedly expected to make a full recovery.
“His life should not change,” Gonzalez said. “He should completely recover. He will have big injuries and might feel a little pain but can have a normal life.”
10 suspects linked to David Ortiz shooting
As Ortiz recovers, the hunt for all 10 of the men allegedly involved in the shooting continues.
Nine suspects have been arrested by Dominican police since the shooting per ABC News, including the alleged gunman Rolfy Ferreyra Cruz, a 25-year-old man who also goes by the name Ramón Martínez Perez.
The 10th suspect, a 31-year-old man named Luis Alfredo Rivas-Clase, is still at large and believed to be connected to another homicide in Reading, Pennsylvania, from last year, according to the Reading Eagle.
No motive behind the crime has been officially disclosed by police, though it has been reported that the men were paid $8,000 total by an unknown party for the hit.
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