House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, grievously wounded in a shooting at a baseball practice last month, has been readmitted to the intensive care unit at a Washington hospital, according to the medical facility.
The six-term Louisiana congressman and third-ranking House Republican was in serious condition Wednesday night and back in intensive care because of new concerns for infection, MedStar Washington Hospital Center said in a statement. The hospital said it would provide an update on Thursday.
Scalise and four other people were injured last month 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 has 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.
“Congressman Steve Scalise has been readmitted to the Intensive Care Unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center due to new concerns for infection. His condition is listed as serious,” the hospital said.
Scalise’s trauma surgeon, Dr. Jack Sava, had told reporters last month that Scalise had arrived at the hospital in shock, with intense internal bleeding and “an imminent risk of death.” Scalise has received multiple blood transfusions, which can affect clotting. Infection also is a risk, especially if the intestines were perforated.
Scalise’s doctors had warned that his treatment would combine improvements with setbacks, and Wednesday’s announcement was consistent with that, said a person familiar with the lawmaker’s condition who was not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
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.
“It seems self-evident that when the teams are practicing, there should be security there,” Pelosi said.
Even before the shooting, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Pelosi had begun talking about changes that could improve members’ safety, said Ryan’s spokeswoman, AshLee Strong.