Representative Gabrielle Giffords’ Condition Improves

Elizabeth Field

It is rare to find hope and optimism amidst a national tragedy. Representative Gabrielle Giffords suffered a traumatic shot to the head only

Representative Gabrielle Giffords suffered a traumatic shot to the head only two weeks ago, and doctors were not optimistic. However, very recently, her condition has been upgraded from critical to serious.

two weeks ago, and doctors were not optimistic. However, very recently, her condition has been upgraded from critical to serious.

Representative Giffords, a popular Democratic congresswoman from Arizona, was shot in the head in a shooting spree outside of a Safeway supermarket that killed six and wounded thirteen. The shooter, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, is in police custody and is being held pending a preliminary hearing on five separate federal charges, including the attempted assassination of Representative Giffords.

Dr. Michael Lemole, head of UMC’s Departments of Neurosurgery and Trauma and also the neurosurgeon working with Representative Giffords, is confident in her recovery. He stated that her eyes are opening more frequently and she is now more able to carry out complex activities on her own and under command. Doctors have also reported that Giffords has been sitting up, moving her limbs, yawning, and even rubbing her eyes.

Representative Giffords has been breathing on her own for several days after doctors removed the breathing tube that linked her to a ventilator over a week ago. With the breathing tube now removed, doctors may be able to soon discern whether or not she is capable of speaking.

The path in which the bullet took that struck Gifford’s brain along with the quick and attentive medical care meant the difference between life and death. Doctors think that the bullet sliced the left side of the brain, which control speech and muscles on the right side of the body. If the bullet would have damaged both sides of the brain, it may have ended in more extensive damage or death.

It is too early to tell the extent of the damage suffered by Giffords, but doctors anticipate that she may achieve a complete recovery and regain all of her abilities.