Cop who almost bled to death after being shot leaves hospital

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Chicago Police Officer Del Pearson is discharged from Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn Tuesday, March 27, 2012 where he underwent five-and-a-half hours of emergency surgery on March 19 after being shot. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

The wife of a Chicago cop who survived a shooting said she felt like she was getting ready to go on a “first date” again with her husband as he was released from the hospital Tuesday, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said.

More than a week after losing three-quarters of his blood when he was shot while attempting to make an arrest in the 8400 block of South Kingston, Officer Del Pearson was saluted by two dozen fellow officers and McCarthy as he left Advocate Christ Medical Center in a wheelchair.

Wearing his police star on a sling supporting his arm, Pearson did not speak but appeared moved by the salute and officers’ happy cries of “Way to go, Del!”

More than 100 officers had kept a vigil outside the hospital on March 19 when doctors battled to save his life during a five-hour surgery.

Speaking Tuesday, McCarthy paid tribute to those fellow officers, to doctors and staff at the Oak Lawn hospital, and at Trinity Hospital, where Pearson was initially treated, for the quick actions that saved his life.

In a statement released by the hospital, Pearson also thanked the medics, saying he had been “in good hands.”

Pearson’s alleged shooter, McDonald’s worker Paris Sadler, 20, remains locked up at Cook County Jail, accused of attempted murder.

The bullet that Sadler allegedly fired is still lodged near Pearson’s spine. It severed an artery, and he nearly bled to death, surgeon Dr. J. Kayle Lee said.

Pearson is expected to make a full recovery, and he will have an operation to remove the bullet, but it will be months before he can return to work, the surgeon said.

McCarthy said Pearson’s family and the dark sense of humor that he shared with many police officers, doctors and nurses had helped him through the tough times this week.

McCarthy said Pearson’s wife sent him a text saying that Pearson would be getting out earlier Tuesday, and that she had written that she felt like she was going on a first date now that he has been released.

“I feel like I’m ready for my first date with him,” she wrote.

And when McCarthy called her back, Officer Pearson answered the phone and asked the superintendent if he was going to the Police Department’s monthly award ceremony Tuesday, McCarthy added.

“He said, ‘Will you do me a favor – there’s an award I was supposed to pick up today – could you pick it up for me?’ ” McCarthy said with a laugh.

The award, for helping foil a robbery ring last year, was the 110th of Pearson’s career, McCarthy added.

“There’s a saying that you make you own luck,” McCarthy said. “. . . We made our own luck that night and boy were we lucky.”

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