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Doctors hopeful victim will recover

Ivatury: victim's chances of survival
Ivatury: victim's chances of survival "fair to good."

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RICHMOND, Virginia (CNN) -- The man shot Saturday outside an Ashland, Virginia, Ponderosa restaurant remains in critical condition after surgery at the Medical College of Virginia Hospital, but doctors said they were optimistic about his chances of recovery.

A single bullet had entered the 37-year-old victim's upper abdomen and tore through multiple organs, trauma surgeon Dr. Rao Ivatury told reporters Sunday.

When he arrived at the hospital, just 15 minutes after being shot, he was "complaining of some pain in his belly," Ivatury said.

Ivatury and his team operated for about three hours, ending after midnight. He said they performed the procedures needed to save the man's life, but had to interrupt the surgery because his condition was too unstable.

Ivatury said the man suffered severe damage to several organs, including his stomach, pancreas and spleen.

"The bullet grazed the kidney and went into the chest, where there was some bleeding," Ivatury said. "This is typical of that particular area gunshot wounds."

Ivatury said the man's condition was guarded, but he was hopeful.

"Since he is a very healthy man, and still young, the chances are fair to good" he will survive, he said. "He is conscious now, responding with opening his eyes and moving all extremities."

But the man is heavily sedated and on a ventilator and is therefore unable to speak with authorities, Ivatury said, adding that he did not know whether his patient knew what had happened to him.

The man was shot in the parking lot of a restaurant he and his wife had just left off Interstate 95 in Ashland.

Ivatury said doctors did not try to look for the bullet during Saturday night's surgery, or see any fragments.

Surgeons will attempt to remove the bullet in the second operation, but "it's not my priority," he said.

Ivatury praised paramedics for getting the man to the hospital quickly, which meant it was unlikely their patient suffered brain damage.

Officials said the man's wife has been by his side for most of his stay at the hospital.

"She's been holding up very well," said nurse Nancy Martin. "She's a very strong person."

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