Giffords opens eyes, begins physical therapy

Jan 14, 2011
Giffords Opens Eyes, Begins Physical Therapy
"She is starting to become aware of her surroundings," said Dr. G. Michael Lemole Jr., section chief of neurosurgery at the UA department of surgery.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Doctors expect to remove Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' breathing tube in the next few days. "Everybody is making fantastic progress," UMC trauma director Dr. Peter Rhee said.

Rep. spontaneously opened her eyes on Wednesday night while surrounded by friends and continues to show encouraging signs of recovery. She remains in critical condition in the ICU at University Medical Center, where four other patients injured in the Jan. 8 shooting remain in fair condition.

Dr. Peter Rhee, medical director of University Medical Center's Trauma and and professor of surgery at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Department of Surgery, said of the four patients who remain in fair condition at UMC, one will undergo a planned surgery today, and another will be discharged.

"Everybody is making fantastic forward progress," said Rhee.

Though still listed in , Giffords also is making major progress.

"As you heard from the president yesterday, it is true, she did have spontaneous eye opening yesterday ,and she's becoming more and more alert at this time," Rhee said.

Dr. G. Michael Lemole Jr., section chief of at the UA department of surgery, was in the room when Giffords opened her eyes while surrounded by friends from the U.S. Congress. He said it was a combination of the unexpected but familiar that may have prompted her to open her eyes and look around.

"That's important from a scientific or neurosurgical perspective, because it implies that not just those parts of the brain that process commands are there, but the parts of the brain that let us awake from sleeping, our arousal center, those are starting to work spontaneously," Lemole said. "She's starting to become aware of her surroundings and the appropriate context of family and friends. That's a very important step on her next move forward."

Lemole said she continues to spontaneously open her eyes, and that they are just beginning to focus and track.

"We're just starting to see the signs of her trying to track her gaze to wherever she wants to look," Lemole said. "That's very, very encouraging and reflects on a level of alertness. This is all very encouraging that she continues to do this consistently. One of the most important things in neurological recovery is consistency. We want to see people repeat things over and over again."

Giffords began aggressive physical therapy today. While sitting supported on the side of the bed with her legs dangling over the edge, she was able to move both legs on command.

"I have to say this is a major leap forward," Lemole said. "This is a major milestone for her. We're hoping she crosses through many more."

Brain swelling is becoming less of a concern at this point, Lemole said, but he continues to be vigilant about that as well as pneumonia and blood clots – issues any ICU patient could face. Rhee said Giffords' breathing tube will need to be removed in the next several days, and he and Lemole will determine whether she's strong enough to breathe on her own or whether a tracheostomy will improve her comfort and care.

"In the assessment, we look at whether or not someone is able to move when we ask them to, we look at whether or not they open their eyes spontaneously and the last piece is what is their verbalization," Lemole said. "We can't assess that with a in."

Explore further: Experts call for higher exam pass marks to close performance gap between international and UK medical graduates

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Doctor: Giffords breathing on her own after attack

Jan 11, 2011

(AP) -- U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was breathing on her own and moving both arms after being shot in the head, doctors said Tuesday. Giffords still has a breathing tube to prevent infections such as pneumonia, ...

Docs optimistic, but Giffords in for long recovery

Jan 10, 2011

(AP) -- Recovering from a gunshot wound to the head depends on the bullet's path, and while doctors are optimistic about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' odds, it can take weeks to months to tell the damage.

UA surgeons remove brain tumors through nose

Jan 05, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- An innovative surgical technique now performed at University Medical Center involves removing skull base brain tumors entirely through the nose and sinuses without incisions to the face or ...

NASA names backup for Giffords' husband on shuttle

Jan 13, 2011

(AP) -- NASA announced Thursday a backup commander, if necessary, to take the place of the astronaut-husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded in a mass slaying and recovering in a Tucson, ...

Recommended for you

What are the chances that your dad isn't your dad?

Apr 16, 2014

How confident are you that the man you call dad is really your biological father? If you believe some of the most commonly-quoted figures, you could be forgiven for not being very confident at all. But how ...

New technology that is revealing the science of chewing

Apr 15, 2014

CSIRO's 3D mastication modelling, demonstrated for the first time in Melbourne today, is starting to provide researchers with new understanding of how to reduce salt, sugar and fat in food products, as well ...

After skin cancer, removable model replaces real ear

Apr 11, 2014

(HealthDay)—During his 10-year struggle with basal cell carcinoma, Henry Fiorentini emerged minus his right ear, and minus the hearing that goes with it. The good news: Today, the 56-year-old IT programmer ...

User comments : 10

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Mira_Musiclab
5 / 5 (3) Jan 14, 2011
Great news!

Here's to hoping she has a full recovery. It's quite a lot to overcome, but this is still a very good sign..
Moebius
1 / 5 (1) Jan 14, 2011
I am so happy she is going to make it through this.

I am not so happy about the stupidity that the gun opponents are displaying. While I agree there is no need for a 30 round clip for a pistol, banning it will do nothing. The normal clip size is around 15, carry 2 pistols and you still have 30 rounds that you can get off even quicker. Anyone with a little training can change a clip and keep firing in about a second so again, a second clip in the hand and you still have 30 rounds or more.

Luckily this shooter was an idiot as well as a wacko. He could have done a lot more damage. From the info out there it sounds like he didn't use hollow points. More importantly he didn't use anti-personnel ammo or Giffords would have died instantly and many more of the others would be dead too. He planned ahead? That's why he went to Walmart to buy ammo that day? Thank god so many people like this are so stupid. But then that goes with the territory. Unfortunately gun opponents aren't much smarter.
ennui27
4 / 5 (4) Jan 14, 2011
GEEZE Moebius .... you seem to have thought through how to kill as many people as possible ...

Is this de regur for advocates of the proliferation of guns?
geokstr
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 14, 2011

Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (1) Jan 14, 2011
GEEZE Moebius .... you seem to have thought through how to kill as many people as possible ...

Is this de regur for advocates of the proliferation of guns?


Know your enemy?

If you never think about what a terrorist or wacko MIGHT do, then how can you possibly stop it?

It's true though, thank God, that these nuts are usually pretty stupid and only seem to be able to think about grade school level complexity attacks.

Remember last year the Muslim who tried to attack New York? He made a makeshift bomb using M-80's, a propane tank, some other stuff, and the wrong type of fertilizer?

Like I said, thank God these people usually suck at what they do.

There are a couple relatively low-tech things this nut COULD have done with his 31 rounds, for free, to make each shot a guaranteed kill, particularly since he was firing from point blank range.

Again, thankfully he was either too stupid, inexperienced, or too unstable to think of these things.
dtxx
5 / 5 (1) Jan 14, 2011
I have to ask... how could he have guaranteed a kill with each round? You mean by shooting the people point blank in the head? Oh wait...
Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (2) Jan 14, 2011
I have to ask... how could he have guaranteed a kill with each round? You mean by shooting the people point blank in the head? Oh wait...


One of the first things they say about assassinations is that a round that penetrates through is a waste of energy.

Well, I know a few ways, but I'm not going to post something like that on the internet where any sick bastard could read it.

A shot to the head or heart is pretty standard for a killing shot, and is irrelevant to what I had in mind, though head shot is usually prefered by assassins for killing humans historically. Big game hunters, on the other hand, aim for the heart because they usually want the head and upper neck as a trophy.

suffice to say, a forehead shot for what I had in mind would be a guaranteed kill, as would a heart shot. Basicly any direct head or torso shot would be a guaranteed kill with a 9mm round "tweaked" according to what I had in mind.
ennui27
1 / 5 (1) Jan 15, 2011
"Remember last year the Muslim who tried to attack New York? He made a makeshift bomb using M-80's, a propane tank, some other stuff, and the wrong type of fertilizer?"

Wasn't he some fool that expressed dissatisfactions with the government (something that happens here all the time) and the FBI took it, ran with it, provided him with all the equipment he needed to make a bomb (but benign) and then arrested him as a terrorist.

They did the same thing to some poor fool in Washington state too.
geokstr
1 / 5 (2) Jan 15, 2011
Wasn't he some fool that expressed dissatisfactions with the government

No, as a matter of fact, he was a Pakistani-born US citizen who got radicalized and trained by al-Qaeda, and simply was too dumb to build the bomb correctly (sort of like Bill Ayers girlfriend whose stupidity made her his late girlfriend.) If the bomb had been built properly, hundreds could have died.

But keep looking to appease and make excuses for the adherents of the Religion of Perpetual Outrage. Google "rageboy" to see their patron saint.

This was the same bomber that idiot mayor Bloomberg was certain was a Tea Partier unhappy with ObamaCare. The left is literally begging for another "Oklahoma City". Every incident like this, they immediately blame on the right, and when it turns out to be just an apolitical nutjob or a leftwinger, the leg-tingling, Lewinskyite media just moves on to the next phony excuse to slam the right.

I'm surprised no one here has blamed it on Palin's uterus yet.
dtxx
5 / 5 (2) Jan 16, 2011
[
One of the first things they say about assassinations is that a round that penetrates through is a waste of energy.

Well, I know a few ways, but I'm not going ... [back up anything I say because I know I'm wrong]

A shot to the head or heart is pretty standard for a killing shot... is usually prefered by assassins for killing humans historically...

suffice to say, a forehead shot for what I had in mind would be a guaranteed kill...


Hydrostatic shock has been largely disproven in terms of stopping and killing power. It also ignores the size and trauma caused by the wound channel, which are key concerns. Just like most everything else you seem to say, you back down when asked for proof. You are so full of shit on all of your points. Get lost.

More news stories

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.