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20-Year-Old Intern Daniel Hernandez Likely Saved Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ Life

Daniel Hernandez, a new intern, used his medical training to keep Rep. Giffords alive until paramedics arrived after the tragic shooting in Tucson.


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Our hearts go out to all 20 victims of the shooting at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ meet-and-greet in Tucson, Arizona. At the moment, we know that six people were killed, and 14 more were injured. The event is tragic by any stretch of the imagination—but one of Rep. Giffords’ new interns, Daniel Hernandez, showed a courage and strength that likely saved the Congresswoman’s life.

Hernandez, 20, had only worked for Giffords for five days. He was standing 30 feet away when the gunfire began, and he watched with terror as Rep. Giffords was shot in the head. Immediately, he rushed to her side.

“It was probably not the best idea to run toward the gunshots, but people needed help,” he told the Arizona Republic.

Hernandez, who’d received training in emergency triage, began to provide medical assistance to Giffords and the other victims. He applied pressure to the Congresswoman’s head to stop the bleeding, using his bare hands until someone brought him clean smocks from the nearby Safeway supermarket. While he aided Giffords, he instructed bystanders on how to apply pressure to the wounds of the others who’d been injured.

Hernandez stayed with Giffords until paramedics arrived, and held her hand on the way to the hospital. She squeezed his in return.

Although Giffords is still in critical condition, doctors are optimistic about her chances—and that’s likely due to Hernandez’ quick thinking.

Hernandez was “ecstatic” to hear that Giffords had survived. “She was one of the people I’ve looked up to,” he said. “Knowing she was alive and still fighting was good news. She’s definitely a fighter, whether for her own life, or standing up for people in southern Arizona.”

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