Monday, January 10, 2011

Heroes of the Day

In the midst of Jared Lee Loughner's murderous rampage through Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's meet and greet with constituents at a Tuscon supermarket that left six people dead and 13 people injured, including Rep. Giffords, there were people who stepped up and became heroes.

These people ought to be recognized for their bravery and heroic actions for they saved lives.

First up is Daniel Hernandez. He was Gifford's 20 year old intern.
Moments later, he was at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' side. Less than a week after the 20-year-old intern started working for the congresswoman, he was using his bare hands to stop blood gushing from where a bullet had entered her head.

Hernandez, who trained as a certified nursing assistant, said he lifted Giffords' head to make it easier for her to breathe, then applied pressure to her wound.

"She was alert and conscious, but she wasn't able to speak, so the way she was communicating was by grabbing my hand and squeezing," Hernandez said.

Employees from the nearby Safeway supermarket brought out clean smocks from the meat department to cover Giffords' wound until paramedics arrived, he said.

"My main thing was just to keep her as alert as possible and just keep trying to interact with her... The entire time I was with the congresswoman, she was still responding," Hernandez said. "She was obviously in a lot of pain, so I let her know to squeeze my hand as hard as she needed to."

She "was my first and only priority," Hernandez added later in a CNN interview. I was "trying to take care of her emotional needs" and "keep her calm."
Hernandez's calm and methodical actions saved Giffords' life by providing prompt medical attention and tending to Giffords. So too were the unnamed supermarket workers who found needed items to help Hernandez get the bleeding under control and provide easier access for her to breathe.

The other heroes in this traumatic event included spunky 61 year old woman, Patricia Maisch, who wrestled away another magazine from Loughner as he was attempting to reload after two men who are so far unnamed wrestled Loughner to the ground.
"He shot the woman that was next to me, and I was just waiting for the next bullet," Maisch said.

Then Maisch saw the gunman was on the ground near her. "Two gentlemen had knocked him to the ground, and somebody yelled 'Get the gun,'" Maisch said. "So I knelt up - he was on his right side - I knelt up and reached over him. I couldn't reach the gun, but as he was doing that he also pulled another magazine out of his left pocket, which he dropped on the pavement, and I was able to get it before he did.

"At the same time, another gentleman had picked up the gun. So he was secured."

She said she could not get a good look at the gunman's face. "He had a stocking cap on, and the way he was pushed on the ground, I could only see a little bit of the left side of his face, 'cause he had the stocking cap almost up to his eyes, both at the side, and above his eyebrows," she said.
Had he been able to reload, the crowd would have been in jeopardy of being hit by another 30 rounds. After arriving on scene, law enforcement found more than 90 rounds of ammo in Loughner's pockets.

Currently, Rep. Giffords remains in critical condition although doctors are cautiously optimistic. She's in a medically induced coma that allows doctors to control swelling and they revive her from time to time to check her responses, which have so far been positive.

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