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Associated Press, Published January 12 2011

Doctors say Giffords breathing on her own

TUCSON, Ariz. – Rep. Gabrielle Giffords reached an important step in her recovery from a bullet through her head, breathing on her own for the first time and moving both arms, doctors said Tuesday in what was expected to be a long recuperation.

Giffords still has a breathing tube in place as a precaution, said her neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Lemole.

“I’m happy to say that she’s holding her own,” he said.

Giffords, a three-term Democrat, remained in critical condition at Tucson’s University Medical Center since Saturday when she was shot during a meeting with constituents outside a grocery store. The attack killed six and injured 14 others. Six remained hospitalized.

Doctors previously reported Giffords raised two fingers with her left hand and gave a thumbs-up when responding to verbal commands. Now they say she is moving her arms.

Although her condition has remained virtually unchanged the past few days, doctors were hopeful.

“She has a 101 percent chance of surviving,” said trauma chief Dr. Peter Rhee said. “She will not die. She does not have that permission from me.”


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