Boston Red Sox legend 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 just how close the Boston Red Sox great was to mortal danger.
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 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, reportedly 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.
“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.”
Papi didn’t dodge a bullet literally, but figuratively, he certainly did. It could have been a lot worse.
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