Woman credits MUSC doctor for saving her, unborn child after being shot in head

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 7:17 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A woman is thanking an MUSC doctor for saving her and her son after she says she was shot in the head in a domestic violence incident.

“Everything happens for a reason,’ Haleigh Rae Startin says. “I survived such a traumatic event in my life, but I survived for a reason.”

Startin says she was shot by her boyfriend in the back seat of a car in January 2020 and was in the middle of the road near Green Sea. At the time, she was four months pregnant.

Startin was airlifted to MUSC where a team of doctors, led by neurosurgeon Dr. Alejandro Spiotta, performed emergency surgery despite the odds.

“We knew she would have a higher chance of recovery than an older person. And we were really looking to save two people,” Spiotta said.

Spiotta’s actions saved Startin, and her baby who is now a healthy 15-month-old boy.

During Domestic Violence Awareness month, Startin says she hopes her story will inspire others to find strength.

“If my story can help just one woman, I’d be happy, I could die happy,” she said.

Startin says her 15-month-old son is her “greatest blessing” and that Spiotta is the reason they are both alive today.

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