By Woodrow Polston
Last week the Audrain County Sheriff’s Office reported that on Feb. 13, at 3:47 p.m., deputies were dispatched to a residence along East Bland Street in Vandalia for a report of a person who had been shot. Upon arriving at 3:50 p.m., deputies found 25-year-old Mallory Cutt in stable condition despite having a gunshot wound in her chest that resulted from an accidental discharge of a firearm.
Cutt was flown to University Hospital in Columbia, where she was treated in the emergency room and later released. She said that her survival was nothing short of a miracle.
“It was a miracle that the bullet did not hit anything vital,” said Cutt. “I am so thankful that God was there with me and for the first responders who helped me get to the hospital. Once I arrived there by flight, doctors immediately began taking X-rays in an attempt to locate the bullet. Once they discovered that it was lodged in my neck, they numbed the area and extracted the bullet. It only required one stitch after the removal was complete. The entire procedure was done and over by the time that my family arrived at the hospital. I was shocked that I was released only hours later. But I was so thankful to be back home for my birthday, which was also Valentine’s Day,” she added.
Based on statements and evidence in the sheriff’s report, it appeared that persons in the house were handling a small caliber rifle that was loaded, and it was unintentionally discharged causing the bullet to strike the victim. Cutt was able to provide the Leader with details that were not available in the police report.
“It was a .22 rifle that I have had for a while. I did not know that it was loaded. A friend of mine came over to visit and when she and her children came inside, I picked up the rifle to put it away in the closet. As I was doing so, her 3-year-old son ran over and grabbed it. As I was bending down to block the child’s hand from touching it, he pulled the trigger and the rifle fired point blank into my chest. I did not immediately realize that I had been shot. I felt what I thought was pressure from the discharge of the rifle. Afterward I began looking at the ceiling to locate a bullet hole. That was when I began to have a burning sensation in my chest. To my surprise, there was no blood to be seen. only a powder burn on my shirt and a hole. It was nothing like what is portrayed on TV and in the movies. It happened so suddenly, there was no way I could prepare for this. I have always been very safe with firearms and when I was growing up, I was even a good markswoman. Accidents like this do not only happen to the inexperienced,” said Cutt.
According to statistics of shooting accidents tracked by the CDC, more people suffer nonfatal firearm-related injuries than die after a shooting accident. More than seven out of every 10 medically treated firearm injuries are from firearm-related assaults. Nearly 2 out of every 10 are from unintentional firearm injuries. There are few intentionally self-inflicted firearm-related injuries seen in hospital emergency rooms.