Rookie intern likely saved Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' life

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on January 10, 2011 at 9:11 AM

Updated Monday, Jan 10 at 10:26 AM

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords might owe her life, at least in part, to one of her new interns.

Daniel Hernandez, a junior at the University of Arizona, had only been an intern at Giffords' office for five days and was helping at Saturday's "Congress on Your Corner" event.

He said he doesn't remember seeing the shooter. All he remembers is seeing the wounded, including Giffords, in desperate need of help.

Hernandez, 20, ran over to Giffords.

"The first thing I did was prop her up against my chest because the position she was in, there was a chance of her choking or asphyxiating on her own blood," Hernandez said. "I also started applying pressure to her head wound.

"When I was talking to her and she was grasping my hand and squeezing, I knew she was still there."

Doctors at University Medical Center in Tucson said Hernandez's actions might have saved Giffords' life.

Hernandez stayed with Giffords, holding her hand all the way to the hospital. While Giffords remains in critical condition at UMC, Hernandez says he is optimistic that she will fight through this.

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