Las Vegas shooting victim wakes from coma and walks

Updated October 14, 2017 - 7:59 pm

After the grimmest news came big glimmers of hope for Tina Frost.

When she was shot in the head Oct. 1 during the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival, her future looked grim. Before she entered surgery, her doctor warned the mortality rate for people shot in the head is about 90 percent.

But the 27-year-old Maryland native and San Diego transplant woke up on Thursday from her weeklong medically induced coma. And by Friday, she was out of bed and taking her first few steps since the shooting.

On Saturday morning, Mary Moreland told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that her daughter had taken three steps to a chair and another three back into her hospital bed. Frost’s grandmother Carlene Printy, who lives about 40 minutes outside of Baltimore, said Frost has made progress.

“She sure is a fighter,” Printy said by telephone Saturday. “She was even breathing on her own for a few hours.”

Frost landed in Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center’s intensive care unit after a single bullet from the relentless gunfire raining down on the Strip’s south end entered her right eye and damaged her brain.

She spent the next three hours that night in surgery.

Dr. Keith Blum said it wasn’t until they were in the operating room that he could see the extent of the damage — how the bullet shattered bones in the front of Frost’s skull and forehead, injuring the frontal lobes of her brain.

It was touch and go for a while during the extensive surgery, Blum said, but she pulled through.

And then, for a week, she slept.

“We had her on heavy doses of medication while we monitored her intracranial pressure,” Blum said. “But she’s awake, and I always had a feeling she would move toward recovery.”

A ‘miraculous’ injury

Blum and the ophthalmologic surgeon who assisted on Frost’s surgery couldn’t save her right eye. But looking back on the surgery Saturday morning, Blum told the Las Vegas Review-Journal his patient’s eye injury may have helped prevent secondary injuries.

Because Frost’s skull shattered when she was shot, her brain had room to swell. The extra room for Frost’s brain to expand immediately after suffering from a gunshot wound isn’t common, Blum said.

“It’s quite miraculous that her injury at one point could have taken her life,” he said. “But instead, the way the injury happened kind of helped save her.”

And to Blum’s surprise on Thursday, when Frost woke up from her coma, the vision in her left eye hadn’t been destroyed.

“I showed her two fingers and she responded,” he said, putting his index and middle fingers up to demonstrate. “It’s amazing that she can still see.”

A strong support system

Not long after she took her first steps on Friday, Blum cleared his patient to go back to her hometown. On Saturday, more than 2,400 miles away, doctors at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore were preparing for Frost’s arrival.

“It’s not about trying to find the best hospital to take care of her,” the neurosurgeon said. “What she needs is her community and family, and that’s where her support system is.”

Blum expects Frost to be airlifted to Hopkins as early as Sunday morning.

“She grew up here so she has an amazing support circle,” Printy said. “Tina is so loved.”

In the days following the shooting, Frost’s family from Maryland, Florida, Oregon and New York flew to her bedside in Las Vegas, where her mother, father and boyfriend have been taking turns staying through the night with her.

“She’s the kind of person who will do well because she has a supportive community behind her,” Blum said.

It’s unclear how many more surgeries Frost will face, but she will have to go back under the knife to repair her facial and eye areas.

“It’s not over yet,” Printy said, letting out a long sigh. “She’s awake, but she still needs to survive her next surgeries.”

Down the road, after the surgeries, Blum said possible infections caused by the bullet fragments left behind in her brain could lead to further complications.

Because such tiny fragments were scattered throughout the organ on impact, Blum said trying to remove every piece of the bullet during surgery “would not have been feasible.”

“This concern, in particular, may require more surgery,” he said. “But let’s hope not.”

Moving in the right direction

From the beginning, Frost has given her doctors and family reason to hope for a full recovery.

“She was giving us signs,” Blum said. “Even at the time of the surgery, she was moving and there didn’t seem to be a lot of brain swelling.”

Since awakening from the coma, the swelling in Frost’s face has subsided and Blum said her strength “seems to be symmetric on both sides.”

The neurosurgeon is hopeful for a reunion down the road.

“(Tina’s) mom will keep me posted until we meet again,” he said. “Tina’s doing really great and I won’t keep her here just to see her progress. But I think if she stayed, we’d be watching her walk out of this hospital in the next four days or so.”

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Paul Harasim contributed to this story.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Crime
Las Vegas judge’s ruling will halt tonight’s execution
On Wednesday Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez issued a ruling that will halt the execution of convicted murderer Scott Dozier. Alvogen Inc., which makes the sedative midazolam, filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing the Nevada Department of Corrections of surreptitiously obtaining the drug for use in an execution.
3 people shot in southeast Las Vegas
Three men were shot Thursday night in southeast Las Vegas, and two of them have life threatening injuries. Las Vegas police responded to the incident just after 10 p.m. on the 5000 block of Mountain Vista Street. The investigation is in its early stages and police were unable to describe the suspect or say how man people they think were involved. Police encourage anyone with information regarding this shooting to call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555, or 3-1-1
Robbery suspects apprehended
Four robbery suspects were taken into custody Thursday morning after a vehicle and foot chase that ended in an east Las Vegas neighborhood. The incident began when a person was robbed at gunpoint around 4:45 a.m. near Maryland Parkway and Desert Inn. Officers arriving at the scene tried to stop two vehicles. One vehicle escaped but police chased the second into a neighborhood on Flamingo Road near Mountain Vista Street. Police surrounded the neighborhood and the suspects were apprehended. It looked like one police vehicle was involved in a collision with the suspects' car. One woman suffered an unknown injury and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. 01:04
Las Vegas police looking for robbery suspects
Two robbers who recently targeted three Las Vegas businesses remained at large Tuesday and police are asking the public to help identify them. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser gives update of officer-involved shooting
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser provides an update about an officer-involved shooting at Radwick Drive and Owens Avenue in the northeast Las Vegas on Thursday. A robbery suspect was shot and killed. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
LVMPD Looking For Robbery Suspect
The LVMPD Commercial Robbery Section is attempting to identify the pictured suspect who is responsible for committing robberies to businesses in the southern part of the Las Vegas Valley during the month of May 2018. The suspect enters the business, threatens the employee with a firearm and demands money from the register. The employee complies and the suspect flees the business.
North Las Vegas police are investigating a triple shooting that left one man dead
North Las Vegas police are investigating a triple shooting that left one man dead at 2500 block of Ellis St., on Friday, June 8, 2018. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
1 dead in shooting at southwest Las Vegas home
A dispute between roommates led to the fatal shooting of one man in the backyard of their southwest Las Vegas Valley home on Monday, April 23, 2018. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Henderson Police Seek Armed Bank Robbery Suspect
This afternoon a male suspect entered the Bank of America, located at 2638 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, at about 12:40 p.m. As he entered the bank, he pulled a black mask down to conceal his face.The suspect is described as a late-forties to early-fifties white male adult, approximately 5 foot 8 inches to 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighing approximately 160 to 180 pounds He was last seen wearing a dark colored beanie, a grayish blue plaid shirt, dark jeans and dark colored shoes. His head was shaved on the sides and the top of his hair was dark in color. Vehicle was described as possibly a gray 2012-2014 four door Ford Focus. The license plates were covered with black tape. The suspect is considered armed and dangerous. Do not attempt to contact the suspect but call police immediately. Anyone with information is urged to call the Henderson Police Department at 702-267-4911, to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like