Robert Pierce, the District government in the opening assault of the Hanafi Muslim stege, will probably be paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life. He also will probably lose most of the use of his right hand.
Wesley Hymes, print shop employee for B'nai British, faces a year of surgery to try to repair the nerves and tendons of his left hand, and a long period of recovery from gunshot and machete wounds.
Alton Kirkland, another B'nai B'rith workman, required three operations because of his stab wounds, but is recovering well.
D.C. City Councilman Marion Barry and District Building security guard Mack Wesley Cantrell were in good condition, despite shotgun wounds. Barry went home from the hospital yesterday.
These - and the bruises and psychological wounds of the 124 hostages freed early yesterday - constituted the casualty toll among the living from the 38-hour assault and siege, as assessed by doctors yesterday.
In addition, one man, Maurice Williams, a 24-year-old radio reporter, was killed by a shotgun blast as the Hanafi band seized part of the District Building. His station, WHUR-FM, operated by Howard University, has been memorializing him with music and poetry. His family is preparing to bury him on Monday.
George Washington University Hospital, whose emergency room checked all 124 of the hostages who were released yesterday, reported that about 40 of them had either major or minor bruises, principally rope-burn. Two required stitches for cuts around their eyes, the hospital said, but there was no loss of sight.
"Some people had been punched and kicked," said Dr. Joseph Giordano, acting emergency rooms director. "There were some hematomas (blood-filled sweelings) around the eyes, and one person who had given a kidney had had a severe blow at that site. But no one we saw last night had been severely beaten."
According to several hostages, all of the injuries treated at the hospital yesterday were inflicted at B'nai B'rith headquarters where more than 100 persons were held at gun and knife point. There were no injuries the Islamic Center. At the District Building, although there was one death and three serious injuries during the Hanafi take-over, none of the hostages who remained with the gunman was hurt.
"There was some crying (when the hostages came into the emergency room)," said Craig D'Eatley, a medical assistant to Dr. Giordano. "I think some were still stunned by the fact that they were alive. But most were calm and for most there was a complete feeling of elation. We didn't have to hospitalize anyone."
In the hospital's intensive care unit, however, the picture is not bright for Pierce, 51, a retired foreign service officer who was studying law at Antioch Law School and serving an internship with the D.C. government.
"We're afraid to is 99 per cent certain that one of the shutgun fragments passed through his spinal cord and severed it," said Dr. William L. Joseph, who operated on Pierce Wednesday evening.
"In the next few days a neurosurgeon may well explore his spinal canal on the one chance that there is something we can do, or that he has a temporary paralysis from the shock of the injury. But this is not the indication."
Pierce, by his doctors' description, suffered multiple wounds to the left side of his back from a shutgun that probably was fired just a few feet away. The same blast blew away part of his lower arm and wrist, and completely severed both of the long bones of the lower arm, as well as its principal nerves and arteries.
The surgeons were able to repair the arteries and make initial repairs to the arm, although it will be two inches shorter than before, Giordano said, "because he lost good part of both bones."
The nerves and tendons will have to be repaired in future operations.
Hymes, 31, also suffered a severe hand injury. He was shot in the left shoulder, and a swipe from a machete cut through three fingers.
"The shoulder wound was just a through wound, with no major blood vessel or nerve injury," Giordano said. "He was very lucky. It will be a lot of work - sometimes it takes several operations - but his hand injury isn't as severe as Pierce's"
Kirkland, 21, was rushed to surgery Wednesday evening, and Dr. Glen Geelhoed closed what appeared to be a wound from a long knife through his chest, diaphragm, spleen, stomach, and liver. When he was taken to the recovery room, Kirkland started bleeding from his thigh, where doctors found another knife wound and sewed it up. Late Thursday, his abdomen was reopened to stop internal bleeding, but yesterday doctors said he was in stable condition.
The two gunshot victims who fared best were Councilman Barry, 41, and security guard Cantrell, 51.
A gunshot hit Barry in front of his heart, but it did not penetrate bone, and there was no serious injury. The councilman was operated on at Washington Hospital Center and made such a quick recovery that he was sent home yesterday.
The gunshot that hit Cantrell struck under his eye, Giordano said. "Then it hit his skull," he continued, "but didn't go through it. It just tunneled around the skin and went out the back. That isn't so unusual. A bullet often takes the path of least resistance."
On the day of the Hanafi attacks three other men were taken from B'nai B'rith headquarters to George Washington Hospital because they had been pistol-whipped about the head, but all were treated and released. Edward Mason, a hostage at B'nai B'rith, reported that he was hit on the head with a rifle butt during the seige and knocked unconscious, but he had recovered by the time he was released early yesterday.
Four hostages who complained of chest pains were set free by the gunmen during the day before the whole group was released. Two were checked out at George Washington Hospital and allowed to go home immediately. The other two spent Thursday night in the hospital for observation and went home yesterday.