Man undergoes reconstructive surgery after being shot in the jaw

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ST. LOUIS – We hear about numerous shootings and deaths in our area but what about those who survive being shot?

Army veteran Chris Hohman was shot in the chin on March 31. He survived. And with the help of Mercy Hospital facial surgeons, he looks great; but in other ways, he will never be the same.

Hohman said one of his best friends, Joshua James Tripp, got drunk and shot him during an argument.

“He took it the wrong way, went and grabbed a 9mm, and shot me,” Hohman said.

You can’t tell now, but the bullet decimated Hohman’s jaw.

“I served in the military, went to Afghanistan and back. This has been the hardest thing to deal with in my life,” he said.

Credit: Chris Hohman

Facial surgeons orchestrated and Hohman’s his new jaw. Dr. Damian Findlay said his chin and jaw were shattered.

“That would be the equivalent as if I took a cowboy boot and stepped on a potato chip; there’s just all these fragments,” he said.

Surgeons turned to technology using a CT scan and 3D imaging, working with software engineers to design a new custom jaw with titanium plates that matched Hohman’s current bone structure.

“I think we had a great result and from what you can see he's looking the same as he did prior to surgery,” said Dr. Greg Tentindo.

Hohman looks great and is appreciative of the surgeons’ efforts to repair his jaw, but he’s still dealing with unseen issues.

“To eat a normal meal, I have to take double time to eat because of damage to my throat,” he said.

After what happened, Hohman said his views on gun control have changed. Despite the many laws currently on the books, Hohman thinks there has to be a better way of protecting the public and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.

His doctor agrees.

“It’s very easy to see a news story and say, ‘Oh, somebody else got shot in St. Louis’ and brush it off, but what people don’t realize is the devastation to the patient and family, and the team effort it takes to treat and recover a patient,” Dr. Tentindo said.

Meanwhile, Hohman’s medical bills are approaching $1 million. He’s set up a GoFundMe account to help raise money to cover those costs.

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