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Gabrielle Giffords: What might the future hold? A portrait of four survivors.

January 24, 2011|By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times
  • Rep. Gabrielle Giffords continues to recover from a gunshot wound to the head.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords continues to recover from a gunshot wound to the… (Susan Walsh / Associated…)

It’s hard to imagine that anyone could survive anything as brutal as a gunshot wound to the head. And yet about 10% of the time, such victims do live.

But what happens next? What kinds of lives do – can – people go on to have?

To get a sense of the possibilities, staff writer Melissa Healy interviewed four victims of such injuries and chronicled their lives since the event:

Leonard Rugh, shot in 1969 while serving in Vietnam;

Matthew Gross, shot on the observation deck of the Empire State Building in 1997;

Jackie Nink Pflug, shot in Malta in 1985 during an airplane hijack;

Danny Rodriguez, shot in 2009 during a run-in with a gang after a party.   

Though nobody can know what the future holds for Giffords, these four portraits give a sense of the possibilities — and also of the things that matter: the precise path the bullet took; the support of family, friends and society; the characteristics of the person who sustained the injury – and what resources are available to help victims get the rehab and psychological support that they need.

Read the whole report.

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