Doctors say just minutes were the difference in fight to save KCPD officer’s life after shooting

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City police officer shot in the head in early July left Truman Medical Center for rehab on Thursday. Doctors said his odds of survival were low.

Hours after the officer left in an ambulance surrounded by cheering colleagues, hospital physicians recounted what happened in the late afternoon hours of July 2.

“Five more minutes and he would not have had a good outcome and probably would not have survived,” Dr. Michael Moncure said.

Moncure was the first surgeon to see the wounded officer after he was shot in the area of 31st and Van Brunt after responding to a disturbance call. KCPD Maj. Doug Niemeier said quick action by fellow officers to drive him from the scene to the hospital were crucial.  

Doctors said the officer had about a 1% chance of a survival. His family calls it a miracle. The officer’s name still hasn’t been released at request of the family.

“We’re all overjoyed at the outcome that the officer had. He’s on his way to an excellent rehab center that specializes in traumatic brain injury, and I have all the hope in the world,” Dr. John Gianino said.

The officers who rushed him to Truman waited while he was in surgery. The initial operation lasted 3-4 hours. He was shot on the right side of his head, making the possibility of recovery much more likely.

“We’re most ecstatic about his thumbs up on the way out because that means that his brain is able to process the information that he’s been told, allowed to then make a decision, and then react to that decision in a coordinated fashion,” Dr. Dustin Neel described.

Kansas City Officer Doaa El-Ashkar read a letter from the officer’s family during a news conference with the doctors. They said they’re forever grateful for the outcome.

“We have seen miracle upon miracle in the past three weeks at Truman. A mere ‘thank you’ seems not enough for a life, but we would like to thank all the staff at the hospital from the bottom of our hearts for the care, compassion, dedication to their callings and everything that was done to make this outcome possible,” the family wrote.

Doctors said if all goes well with the officer’s rehab, he might be able to resume a mostly normal life. They hope one day he’s able to work and enjoy his life.

The suspect in this shooting reportedly was waving a gun in the air and ran when officers arrived before shots were fired. The suspect was shot and killed. The Missouri State Highway Patrol is continuing to investigate the incident.

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