U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is still on a breathing tube but she’s making “encouraging” progress in recovering from a gunshot wound to the head and continues to open her eye, her doctors said this morning.
Of the 11 patients taken to Tucson’s University Medical Center following Saturday’s shooting rampage at a northwest side supermarket, four remain hospitalized and all but Giffords are in good condition.
“We’re actually confident that she’s making some progress now,” UMC neurosurgeon Dr. G. Michael Lemole Jr. told reporters. “That we described her eye being open, that kind of occurrence is more frequent at this time. And we can even think that she is beginning to carry out more complex sequences of events, more complex sequences of activity in response to our commands, or even spontaneously.
“So we’re very encouraged that she’s continuing to make all the right moves in all the right directions,” Lemole said.
Giffords had dramatic progress this week when she opened her right eye for the first time on the day of President Obama’s visit. Her left eye is bandaged. She also been able to move both her arms and legs, though the movement in her right arm is limited, doctors said.
Lemole declined to answer any other questions about Giffords’ condition this morning. Doctors have refused to give Giffords a prognosis of recovery, though they have said she will not die from the bullet that traveled clear through the left side of her brain.
Giffords’ aide Ron Barber was released from UMC this morning and is attending the funeral of federal Judge John Roll this morning, his daughters Crissi Blake and Jenny Douglas told reporters. Roll was one of six people who died in the shooting.
Barber’s daughters said their father is able to take some small steps using a walker. Barber, who is Giffords’ district director, was standing next to the congresswoman when the shooting broke out. He was shot in the face and leg.
“Everybody is doing extremely well, nothing is unexpected at this time,” Dr. Peter Rhee, head trauma surgeon at UMC, said of the remaining patients. “Everyone seems to be making progress in healing.”