The intern who may have saved Giffords’ life

THE INTERN WHO MAY HAVE SAVED GIFFORDS’ LIFE…. Amidst all of the unimaginable suffering in Tucson yesterday, there were also signs of extraordinary courage and grace.

The Arizona Republic reports today, for example, on Daniel Hernandez, who joined Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ (D) staff as an intern literally just last week. When the gunman opened fire, the 20-year-old University of Arizona junior was about 30 feet from the congresswoman, and instead of fleeing, Hernandez did the opposite.

When the shots began that morning, he saw many people lying on the ground, including a young girl. Some were bleeding. Hernandez said he moved from person to person checking pulses.

“First the neck, then the wrist,” he said. One man was already dead. Then he saw Giffords. She had fallen and was lying contorted on the sidewalk. She was bleeding.

Using his hand, Hernandez applied pressure to the entry wound on her forehead. He pulled her into his lap, holding her upright against him so she wouldn’t choke on her own blood. Giffords was conscious, but quiet. […]

Hernandez used his hand to apply pressure until someone from inside Safeway brought him clean smocks from the meat department. He used them to apply pressure on the entrance wound, unaware there was an exit wound. He never let go of her.

Hernandez, soaked in blood, stayed with Giffords in the ambulance en route to the hospital, holding her hand. Giffords, the article noted, “squeezed his back.”

A hospital physician noted that Hernandez’s efforts may have very well saved Giffords’ life.

At a scene in which we saw humanity at its worst, it brings some comfort to also see humanity at its best.