Recovering from a stab wound to his skull that missed his brain by less than an inch, NYPD Officer Eder Loor went home from the hospital Wednesday just in time for his daughter's fifth birthday.
That was a gift the toddler prayed for, said Loor's wife, Dina, tearful but thankful at a news conference at The Mount Sinai Hospital, where a team of 30 medical professionals and support staff cared for Loor for two weeks.
Doctors called it a miraculous recovery, resulting from several factors, including the officer having pulled the knife out of his skull after the stabbing and the quick response of a team of doctors and nurses who "in a lickety split" moment were able to get Loor on the operating table, said Dr. Joshua Bederson, chairman of the department of neurosurgery.
At a news conference in the hospital, Loor, 28, of the Bronx, who has been on the force six years, told reporters, "I'm still not normal. I'm not 100%, but I'm just happy to be alive."
Turning to the some 30 doctors, nurses and support staff on the stage behind him, Loor said, "Thank you, everybody."
Asked about returning to duty, he said, "I can't say."
Loor's wife of five years became tearful and could not answer when asked how she coped with the two-week ordeal. She did say her daughter, who turned 5yesterday, had wanted her father home on her birthday. Of the small get-together planned, Dina Loor said, "It's not a celebration. Just the family."
Loor and his wife left the hospital to bagpipe music and cheers of about 200 uniformed police officers. The couple expects another child in July.
After the news conference the officer's father, Angel Loor, a longtime taxi driver who moved his family to New York from Ecuador 23 years ago, said when his son was first stabbed he "thought the worst . . . But with the grace of God he's alive today and he is with our family and our friends."
As for his son returning to his job, Angel Loor said, "that will be his decision to make. This is his job, but this is a very dangerous job."
Eder Loor, was stabbed April 17 in East Harlem after responding to a 911 call about an emotionally disturbed man.
After arriving at the apartment building, Loor and his partner offered to escort Terrence Hale, 26, to the hospital, police said. That's when Hale brandished a knife and plunged it into Loor's left temple, police said.
Hale, who has at least four other prior arrests, was charged with aggravated attempted murder and also underwent a psychiatric evaluation.
The 3 1/2-inch knife sliced into the area near Loor's brain behind his eye and grazed an artery that, if severed, would have killed the officer, Bederson said.
Loor, a trained emergency medical technician, removed the knife at the scene. Surgeons were able to remove a blood clot and stop the bleeding.
When he awoke after surgery, Loor was able to speak and move his body, although he complained of some numbness in his face.
Bederson, who said Wednesday that Loor went running two days ago in Central Park with the help of support staff, attributed the officer's "remarkable recovery" to his being "an active and physically fit guy."
Asked if Loor will be able to return to work as a police officer, Bederson said, "I am certainly hopeful he will return to duty."
Maria Alvarez is a Newsday freelancer