Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Rep. Giffords Continues to Recover From Gunshot Wound

Rep. Giffords Continues to Recover From Gunshot Wound

01/13/11

THURSDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Reports of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' heartening medical progress continued to arrive Thursday, five days after she was struck in the head at close range by an assassin's bullet.

Giffords' doctors at University Medical Center in Tucson said Thursday morning that she was able to keep her eyes open for up to 15 minutes at a time and can move her legs and one of her hands, The New York Times reported.

"She is doing some fairly specific things with her left hand," Dr. Peter Rhee, the hospital's chief of trauma, said during a news conference. "She is yawning. She is starting to rub her eyes."

Dr. G. Michael Lemole Jr., chief of neurosurgery at the hospital, said Giffords can also "move both of her legs to command," the newspaper reported.

The next key step will be removing her breathing tube, and perhaps have her sit in a chair on Friday, said Rhee, who has treated soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The doctors want to ensure that Giffords doesn't regress and are watching for pneumonia and blood clots, the Associated Press reported.

During a speech Wednesday at the "Together We Thrive: Tucson and America" memorial, President Barack Obama said Giffords "opened her eyes" for the first time shortly after his visit with her and her husband Mark Kelly at University Medical Center, CBS News reported.

An aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) confirmed that Pelosi, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) were in the hospital room when Giffords opened her eyes. The three women are all close friends of Giffords, the news network said.

During his speech, Obama said, "Gabby opened her eyes for the first time. I can tell you, she knows we are here, she knows we love her, and she knows that we are rooting for her through what is undoubtedly going to be a difficult journey. We are there for her."

According to USA Today, Wasserman Schultz said the events inside Giffords' hospital room Wednesday were like "watching a miracle."

Reports of the events in Giffords' room followed word from her doctors Wednesday that she continued to make progress.

"She has a 101 percent chance of surviving," Rhee told the AP. "She will not die."

Lemole, Giffords' neurosurgeon, added that doctors left a breathing tube in the 40-year-old woman to protect her airways, but she is drawing breaths on her own, and is alert and responding to doctors, the AP reported.

Still, experts said Giffords likely suffered some permanent damage, but it's not yet clear how extensive that damage might be.

Dr. David Langer, director of cerebrovascular research at the Cushing Neuroscience Institutes, part of North Shore/Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Great Neck, N.Y., said: "She's probably going to survive in all likelihood, but months or even a year from now we may not know what her ultimate prognosis will be."

"She'll likely have a deficit in the near term, but we don't know if she'll end up in a wheelchair like James Brady [President Ronald Reagan's press secretary who was injured by a bullet during a 1981 assassination attempt on the president] or a functioning Congresswoman. We can't know," added Langer, who was not involved with Giffords' care.

Giffords was gravely injured, 13 others were wounded, and six people, including a 9-year-old girl, were killed when a 22-year-old man, Jared Loughner, pulled out a semiautomatic Glock pistol in front of a Safeway supermarket on Saturday in Tucson, where Giffords was meeting constituents. A Democrat, she was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2006.

The fact that Giffords is alive is a bit of a miracle.

According to Langer, 90 percent of people with gunshot wounds to the head die.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on traumatic brain injury.

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse First in Area to Perform Single-Site Hysterectomy
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >