HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — The family of Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old boy wounded in the Highland Park parade shooting, provided an update on his condition Sunday while also thanking the “many, many people” who helped save his life.
It was on July 4 that Cooper sustained a gunshot wound to the abdomen and not his chest as initially believed. A family spokesperson said the boy remains in pain but is improving after being upgraded to serious condition on Friday. Doctors believe Cooper didn’t suffer any brain damage from the shooting but confirmed Cooper is paralyzed from the waist down.
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The boy is scheduled for another procedure Monday to address damage to his esophagus. Sunday’s statement included an update from doctors:
“Cooper sustained severe injuries, in a very perilous location. The bullet entered his upper abdomen, injuring the left lobe of his liver, his esophagus near the stomach, his abdominal aorta and exited through his back injuring his spinal cord. He required an emergent operation to control the bleeding in his abdomen. Because the missile entered just below the diaphragm, the muscle that divides the chest and abdomen, the bleeding from the aorta could not be controlled from the abdomen. We had to perform a thoracotomy, opening his chest in order to temporarily clamp his aorta to slow down the bleeding. Because the injury to the aorta was so severe, the injured segment had to be removed and replaced with a synthetic graft in an adult size so he can grow into it. The hole in the esophagus was sewed closed. The complex injury of his liver was also repaired. Because of the severity of his injuries and the massive amount of blood transfusions he required during the surgery, his abdomen was left open with a specialized vacuum dressing. At this point, his critical, life-threatening injuries had been addressed and he was stable enough to be transferred to University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital for continued care.”
Bullets struck Cooper, his twin brother Luke and his mother, Dr. Keely Roberts, superintendent of Zion Elementary School District 6.
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The family thanked doctors, first responders and the “thousands who have prayed, sent gifts, supported the family in myriad ways donated to the GoFundMe campaign for Cooper’s long-term care.”
The GoFundMe has raised more than $1 million.