You might remember when Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, was shot during a Congressional Baseball Game in 2017. That summer, the annual bipartisan showdown was held on June 14 at Simpson Field in Alexandria, Virginia. Multiple Congress members and staffers — including Scalise and future Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — showed up in the early morning to practice. Around 7:09 a.m., a 66-year-old man opened fire on the scene, striking Scalise and three others. The shooter, later identified as an anti-Trumper with a domestic battery record named James “Tom” Hodgkinson, was killed by Capitol Police.
Scalise was transported from second base to MedStar Washington Hospital Center by helicopter, in what doctors later described as a “critical condition with an imminent risk of death.”
Within 36 hours, his prognosis had improved. At a press conference, the hospital’s Director of Trauma Dr. Jack Sava told reporters the congressman’s internal bleeding and vital signs had stabilized. By June 21, Scalise had been upgraded to a “fair” condition, but later returned to the ICU and underwent additional surgery after contracting an infection. When he was discharged on July 26, he had spent six weeks in the hospital.
In almost every way, the now four-year-old ordeal was an open-and-shut case — Scalise survived an unambiguously traumatic mass shooting that left him hospitalized for more than a month. He has since returned to health, going on to support abortion restrictions, attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and voter fraud claims in the 2020 election. But there is one lingering mystery about the incident, recently brought to Gawker’s attention by a reader:
Was Steve Scalise shot in the dick?
Our tipster’s question stemmed from a Washington Post article published the day after the attack. Had Scalise been hit in the head or chest, he would have almost certainly died. But his wound was nevertheless severe, the piece explained, due to its location: the “pelvic region.” The famously sensitive area is “densely packed with blood vessels, organs, and other structures,” including vital arteries that help deliver oxygen throughout the body. “Even a single penetrating wound to the pelvic region,” the Post cautioned, “is extremely dangerous,” and can cause severe blood loss.
That seemed to be one of the risk factors for Scalise. But it wasn’t his only issue. Per the Post: “In addition to blood loss, Scalise also suffered injury to ‘internal organs,’ MedStar said, without specifying which ones” (emphasis ours). The reporter offered some possibilities: “They could include his intestines, liver and genitourinary structures.” The latter term, notably, means “of or relating to the genital and urinary organs or functions.”
So where exactly was Scalise shot, and was it in his dick and/or balls? Here is how MedStar Washington Hospital Center described the injuries when the congressman was first admitted:
Congressman Steve Scalise sustained a single rifle shot to the left hip. The bullet traveled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs, and causing severe bleeding. He was transported in shock to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a Level I Trauma Center. He underwent immediate surgery, and an additional procedure to stop bleeding. He has received multiple units of blood transfusion. His condition is critical, and he will require additional operations.
This was enough information for at least six people on Twitter, including two accounts with the handles @MrStinkFingers and @MrsStinkFingers, to conclude that Scalise had been shot in the dick. Others, much like the Gawker staff, merely posed the question. But given that none of these detectives were doctors, it seems appropriate to reserve judgement for those with a medical degree.
Unfortunately, most doctors don’t want to talk about whether a high-profile mass shooting victim got shot in the dick. The primary reasons for this are dignity and HIPAA, the latter of which enshrines the privacy of health information; it may also concern the constitution of the medical profession — which is, generally speaking, humorless and wisely tight-lipped. None of the seven doctors who worked on Scalise’s medical team returned Gawker’s request for comment; neither did the hospital. Scalise’s office did not respond to several requests for comment.
Two sources with medical experience — a doctor and an intern — agreed to review the hospital’s Condition Report and translate some of the jargon. Both found that, based on the physicians’ statements alone, a dick shot seemed unlikely, at least without further information. “It sounds like from their description he was more shot in the hip,” the intern said. “But it’s vague enough that it would be hard to say for sure where.”
“If he took it in the genitals, they are not saying it here,” the doctor added. “The penis is not generally considered an ‘internal organ.’ Sometimes we have to use female catheters on men whose dicks are, how to put this, hard to find.”
If there was additional information about the location, they noted, it would be in his radiology report: “You might investigate what kind of specialists he saw. Urology would suggest an injury to the bladder or genitals.” According to MedStar's Condition Report, Scalise saw seven doctors — four in trauma, two in anesthesiology, and one in vascular interventional radiology. If Scalise saw a urologist, it was not made public. In other words: the jury is out on the integrity of the congressman’s dick and balls.
But Scalise has continued with faithful service to his country. He’s the current House Minority Whip — meaning that he’s both responsible for maintaining the GOP’s lockstep opposition to the entire Biden agenda, and demonstratively better at his job than Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, who has allowed the Democrats to splinter over nearly all of that same agenda. He “carries a fava bean with him everywhere he goes,” to remind him of his “faith and Italian heritage.” He hates abortions and taxes, loves military spending and Israel, opposes the Affordable Care Act, and is, incredibly, anti-gun control.