There is some good news coming out of Arizona this afternoon. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head on Saturday by Jared Lee Loughner, is still in critical condition today, but she is breathing on her own and doctors have backed off on some sedation.
“I’m happy to say she’s holding her own,” said Dr. Michael Lemole Jr., chief of neurosurgery at University Medical Center. “Her status is the same as it was yesterday. She’s still following simple commands.”
Lemole says that Giffords is now capable of initiating her own breaths.
“The only reason we keep that breathing tube in is to protect her airway so that she doesn’t have complications like pneumonia,” he told the media today.
Lemole added that he’s glad she’s “done so well” with an injury that is often fatal.
“This is where we constantly say it’s week to week, month to month. I know everyone wants new results every day but as long as we don’t backslide and as long as she holds her own, that’s good. That keeps us hopeful.”
“We have to play this according to her timeline, not ours,” he said.
“She has no right to look this good and she does. We’re hopeful, but I do want to underscore the seriousness of this injury and the fact that we all have to be extremely patient.”
More in the videos below.
Follow the latest Blippitt coverage of the Tucson shooting here
- Doctor: Rep. Giffords breathing on her own (msnbc.msn.com)
- Doctors: Giffords recovery up to her (thehill.com)
- Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shows ‘encouraging signs’ following shooting (nj.com)