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Uvalde survivor returns to San Antonio hospital to thank staff for their care

Brian Kirkpatrick
Texas Public Radio
Noah Orona, stands to the left of his surgeon, Dr. Frank Robertson, and other medical team members, while his mother, Jessica, is farthest on the right.

An 11-year old Uvalde boy who survived the Robb Elementary School shooting has returned a year later to a San Antonio hospital to thank those who helped him recover.

Noah Orona, and his mother and father, Jessica and Oscar Orona, received a round of applause on Thursday at Methodist Children's Hospital as they emerged from an elevator.

Noah had a simple message for everyone. "I just wanted to say thank you," he said.

His medical team treated him for a gunshot wound that entered his back and exited through the shoulder. He was flown to the hospital by medical helicopter and underwent nearly two hours of surgery to remove a bullet and shrapnel that dodged bones and major organs.

The family said their religious faith helped them get through the ordeal. All three wore matching purple shirts with a reference to Philippians 4:13, which is "I can do all this through him who gives me strength."

"I can do all things through Christ," Jessica Orona said. "He gives me strength. And he does. He gives me, my husband, and our children the strength to get through this. and we have."

The Orona family said the past year has been challenging. But they wanted to offer their thanks, some lunch, and a round of hugs to the medical staff who cared for Noah, including the pediatric general surgeon, Dr. Frank Robertson.

Robertson said Noah's physical prognosis is good, but he also needs time to heal mentally.

"I anticipate that physically he should have a full recovery. The mental process is, of course, ongoing and will continue to be ongoing for quite some time," he said.

Orona's father said his son has Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. He added that the family and Uvalde overall is slowly recovering after the shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

"I mean, it's an ongoing battle, but it's one in Uvalde that's part of our lives, our everyday lives," he said.

His dad said Noah has wrapped up school at St. Bernard's Catholic School and looks forward to the summer.

He said Noah enjoys hanging out at the dentist office where his mom works. He aspires to be a dental hygienist.

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