Shooting victim Gabrielle Giffords’ condition improving steadily

Gabrielle Giffords

Gabrielle Giffords' condition is steadily improving. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded during the Tucson, Ariz., shooting spree, is showing signs of improvement. Still connected to a ventilator, she has shown spontaneous movement and response to verbal communication. Her doctors are confident that she will survive, but the extent of the damage remains to be seen.

Gabrielle Giffords steadily improving from near fatal wound

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head during the deadly Tucson, Ariz., shooting spree allegedly carried out by Jared Loughner, is showing signs of improvement, according to the Los Angeles Times. Giffords is being steadily weaned off sedation as she recovers. She is still on a ventilator to counter possible lung infections. Giffords was making “spontaneous movements,” such as feeling her wounds and adjusting her hospital gown, according to Dr. Peter Rhee, head of trauma at University Medical Center in Tucson, where Giffords is currently located. Rhee said that despite positive signs, Giffords is still in an unpredictable stage of recovery and that the next few days will ultimately reveal more.

Survival assured but recovery uncertain

Though doctors are confident Giffords will survive, the extent of damage done by the bullet that  entered her brain is unknown. Dr. Rhee, according to CBS, said that survival is “101 percent guaranteed” and  “she will not die. She does not have that permission from me.” The extent of the damage from the bullet fired from the Glock 19 Loughner allegedly used is unknown. She will likely suffer some brain damage, as the bullet traveled all the way through the left hemisphere of her brain, the area that controls right side of the body’s movement and speech function.

Loughner could face death penalty

Jared Loughner, 22, could face the death penalty if convicted of the charges against him. Six were killed and 14 wounded in the Tucson shooting. Loughner is being defended by Judy Clarke, a federal public defender. She has a good record of keeping defendants from getting the death penalty. The next hearing, according to CNN, is scheduled for Jan. 24 in Phoenix before Judge Larry Burns, who has been assigned the case.

Sources

Los Angeles Times

CBS

CNN

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