Texas governor misses memorial because of severe burns, infection

by Gregory Tomlin, |
Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks to the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention executive board during its annual retreat, April 27, 2015. | SBTC, Texanonline.net

SAN ANTONIO (Christian Examiner) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is undergoing treatment for second and third degree burns on his legs and feet at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Abbott was noticeably absent from the platform during a memorial service for five Dallas police officers yesterday. The absence, however, wasn't for a lack of desire of being there.

Abbott reportedly suffered extensive burns during an accident while vacationing with his family in Wyoming last week. It is unclear how the accident occurred, but Abbott himself was reportedly not aware of the seriousness of the burns until recently. The governor is paralyzed from the waist down and has been confined to wheelchair since he was involved in an accident in 1984.

Immediately after gunman Micah Xavier Johnson opened fire on officers July 7, Abbott told his aides that he had to return to Dallas immediately in spite of his injuries. He was already being treated at St. John's Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming. Abbott spoke to the public in Dallas with his legs and feet bandaged.

Matt Hirsch, spokesman for Gov. Abbott, said the governor had come into contact with scalding water and was burned, but insisted on returning to Dallas. Since then, however, the governor's injuries have been complicated by infection.

The governor's office issued a statement Tuesday saying that the governor had undergone a successful skin grafting procedure at the Army hospital to help repair his feet.

"On the recommendation of doctors, Governor Abbott will extend his stay at Brooke Army Medical Center to allow for further healing and to ensure a prompt recovery. Governor Abbott has continued to communicate with staff, and our office will continue to provide updates on the Governor's well-being. The Governor and the First Lady appreciate all of the thoughts, prayers and well-wishes they have continued to receive from the public," the statement said.

Abbott wrote in an open letter to Texans after the Dallas attack that the state mourned for its fallen officers. 

"Respect for our law enforcement officers must be restored in our nation," he wrote. "The badge every officer wears over his or her heart is a reminder of a sacred trust, a commitment, a contract with each of us. For law enforcement officers to stand in front of us and all that threatens, we must stand behind them. Every life matters."

Abbott also asked in the letter for God to comfort the families and heal the nation.