LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Gun violence survivor Khatry Abdallahi's life is forever changed. His family's lives are too. On Thursday, his 31st birthday, he pleaded with people to stop the record amount of gun violence in Louisville.
From his rehab center, Abdallahi spoke with his former UofL Hospital nurse Katie Eifert. He spent about 265 days in the ICU under care, one of her longest patients. Eifert is impressed by his optimism, even under his current, unfortunate circumstances.
"He finds joy in the very small things, you know, like the people who keep him company at work at the hospital and at the nursing facility. So, I think it’s pretty amazing that he can smile and cry tears of joy and say he’s happy," she said.
There were such tears during their video call on Thursday.
“Somebody robbed me and shot me. I don’t know who did that,” Abdallahi told his story.
He was living in Louisville and had been in asylum for some six years when in June he was shot. It happened, he says, while he was driving his cab. Driving was just one of two jobs he had to support his family in Mauritania, Africa, where he has a son and a daughter. He even played soccer for the national team for a decade.
"I don’t know why I’m here," he emotionally lamented from Hillcreek Rehab Center Thursday. "I don’t know. I can’t move.”
Eifert explains Abdallahi was shot once in the back of the neck. The bullet severed his spinal cord, and so he's now paralyzed. He's on a ventilator. He will need life-long care at his rehab center. It’s a sad reality that many gun violence survivors share, lives forever changed.
"I don’t know why people do this," Abdallahi said. "Please stop. Stop," he pleaded.
"People don’t see what gunshot wound victims and victims of violent crimes go through when they’re in the ICU," Eifert added, "And what their families go through. I mean it is, it is heart wrenching. And it is not a quick road to recovery."