​Jennifer Gallagher, Aurora Shooting Nurse, Drowns

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August 21, 2012

Jennifer Gallagher, who cared for some of the most critically injured patients after the mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, drowns while on a vacation in the northwestern part of Iowa.

Gallagher, 46, drowned while swimming with friends in Lake Okoboji, according to Greg Pinson, her husband. She was a nurse in the neurosurgical intensive care unit at University of Colorado Hospital and was on duty in the ICU the day after the shooting.

“She did bring home a lot of the tragedy and talked about it,” said Pinson.

Pinson said his wife was particularly touched by one patient’s story. Caleb Medley was shot in the eye by the gunman and has been in critical condition ever since. His wife — who was also in the theater during the July 20 shooting — was due to give birth a few days later. She decided to have the baby at University of Colorado Hospital to be close to Medley. The baby, Hugo, was born July 24.

“She was very affected by that, the fact that his life was so dramatically altered and a newborn baby arriving almost at the exact same time,” Pinson said.

Gallagher was also there when President Obama came to the hospital to comfort families and thank the staff July 22.

“I think that was very special to her to be there when he was there, to get to meet him, you know, she was very proud of that,” Pinson said.

Pinson and Gallagher got married seven years ago and have a 5-year-old son. Pinson said she loved being a nurse.

“She had a great capacity for empathy and a great capacity to make the patients and family members feel better,” he said.