Man shot six times waits for more than a week for surgery because of Covid

·2 min read
Joel ‘JD’ Valdez with his 3-month-old son (GoFundMe)
Joel ‘JD’ Valdez with his 3-month-old son (GoFundMe)

Joel Valdez was shot six times outside of a grocery store in Houston after witnessing a domestic dispute.

Eleven days later, he’s still awaiting surgery to remove the bullets that pierced his left shoulder and neck, as Covid-19 patients have overwhelmed the Texas health system.

Mr Valdez is in a ward at the Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, where the ICU was at 103 per cent capacity on Monday, The Washington Post reported.

One-third of patients at the hospital had Covid, a spokesperson from the Harris Health System told KRIV.

The intensive care unit at Houston’s Lyndon B Johnson Hospital was at 94 per cent capacity with more than half of patients suffering from Covid-19.

Valdez, the father of a three-month old baby boy, said it had been a painful, stressful wait for a surgery space to free up.

“Having broken bones and bullets in me for over a week now, it’s a little frustrating,” Valdez said in an interview with KRIV news station.

“Everybody is really surprised I’m still in this bed a week later.”

Mr Valdez is awaiting surgery for gunshot wounds and broken bones in Ben Taub Hospital (KRIV)
Mr Valdez is awaiting surgery for gunshot wounds and broken bones in Ben Taub Hospital (KRIV)

Recounting the shooting, Mr Valdez said he had gone to a Kroger grocer in southeast Houston early on Saturday, 6 August, to buy supplies for his food truck business.

He noticed a domestic dispute, and the aggressor allegedly took exception to Mr Valdez, who also goes by JD.

“He did not like the way my brother was looking and walking,” Daniel Valdez, his brother, wrote on GoFundMe, where a fundraising effort had attracted $24,400 in donations on Tuesday.

“He then proceeded to shoot at my brother from his car 8 times, 6 of the bullets hit JD. He was shot in both arms, his neck and chin was grazed.

“His left arm is broken from the bullet penetrations and to our knowledge right now there is currently a bullet stuck somewhere in his chest.”

Mr Valdez, who will require several surgeries to recover from his wounds, had a warning for others.

"Do your best to maintain your health and not end up in a situation that puts you in the hospital right now," Mr Valdez told KRIV.

Houston man Kendrick Green has been arrested and charged over the shooting.

Anticipating a surge in deaths in the coming days, Texas state health officials have requested five mortuary trucks on Monday from the federal government.

The state suffered 144 deaths on Saturday, and had a seven-day rolling average death rate of 80, the highest it’s been since March.

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