TUCSON, Ariz. — U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has surmounted one hurdle after another since she was gravely wounded in the Arizona shootings. Her latest was especially significant – a condition upgrade from critical to serious.
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Her doctors' decision Sunday was yet another sign of a remarkable recovery since she was shot in the head Jan. 8 when a gunman opened fire as she met constituents in a Tucson supermarket parking lot. Six people died and 13 were wounded, including the congresswoman.
She had been in critical condition since the attack but doctors were positive, and at times almost giddy, in describing her progress.
She responded from the moment she arrived at the emergency room, at first just squeezing a doctor's hand. Then she raised two fingers.
Giffords opened her unbandaged eye shortly after President Barack Obama's bedside visit Wednesday.
Then, more milestones – which doctors said were all indicative of higher cognitive function – were achieved, all with her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, at her side.
Kelly asked her to give him a thumbs-up if she could hear him. She did more than that. She slowly raised her left arm. By the end of the week, she had moved her legs and arms.
Finally on Sunday, doctors decided to upgrade her condition because a tracheotomy done a day earlier was uneventful, hospital spokeswoman Katie Riley said. A feeding tube was also put in Saturday, and doctors speculated that they might soon know if she could speak.
01/21/2011 3:05 PM EST
Welcome To Houston
Giffords' flight has arrived in Houston, KOLD reports.
01/21/2011 2:45 PM EST
En Route To Texas
Rep. Giffords is heading towards Houston. The Arizona congresswoman's trip includes portions via ambulance, helicopter and jet. The AP reports that she will "undergo weeks of rigorous therapy."
01/21/2011 2:43 PM EST
Photos of Rep. Giffords' motorcade earlier on Friday as she began the trip to Houston.
01/20/2011 11:10 PM EST
Shooting Victim Recounts Judge's Heroism
AP reports on one victim's memories of Judge John Roll's heroic actions the day the tragic shootings rocked Tucson:
Ron Barber can remember the small details of the Tucson rampage: The gunman, the crackle of gunfire, lying on the ground, wounded, and the weight of a body on him.
A week and a half later, Barber found out that it was his good friend John Roll.
Then he learned the federal judge may have helped save his life.
Full story here.
01/20/2011 10:32 PM EST
Statement From Judge Roll's Widow
Judge John Roll's wife, Maureen, has issued a statement in response to her husband's tragic death and the events that unfolded in Tucson, AZ Central reports:
There are no words to describe how my world was shattered on Saturday morning, Jan. 8, 2011. Not only did I lose John Roll, my husband and best friend of more than 40 years, but our three sons lost a wonderful father and our grandchildren their beloved papa. But something else happened that day and in the days that have followed.
Read the full statement here.
01/20/2011 10:28 PM EST
PHOTO: Giffords Goes Outside
Giffords' family reported that she felt the sunshine on her face today for the first time since she was shot. Her office released the below photograph of the congresswoman's bed on a hospital deck, with husband Mark Kelly by her side.
01/20/2011 10:12 PM EST
Giffords Transferring To Houston Friday
Arizona's KFDA reports that Congresswoman Giffords will be transferred to Houston's TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital at 9am local time tomorrow:
Officials at University Medical Center in Tucson say the congresswoman is expected to leave shortly after 9 a.m. local time and travel by ambulance to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for a medical flight to Texas.
A group of motorcycle riders from a Veterans of Foreign Wars post will escort the ambulance.
Once in Houston, she will be taken by helicopter to TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital.
Traveling with Giffords will be her husband, Mark Kelly; her mother, Gloria Giffords; trauma surgeon Dr. Peter Rhee and an intensive care unit nurse.
Full article here.
01/19/2011 11:05 PM EST
Death Penalty For Loughner?
AZ Central reports on the terms of Loughner's indictments, and what would constitute the death penalty:
Superseding indictments could come as early as 60 days in the murders of U.S. District Judge John Roll and Giffords' aide Gabe Zimmerman. Sources indicated that the indictments would be done piecemeal in order to meet constitutional requirements.
The federal criminal code allows penalties of up to life in prison for an attempted assassination of a member of Congress. When federal murder charges follow, prosecutors could seek the death penalty.
Full story here.
01/19/2011 11:03 PM EST
Surveillance Video Shows Gunman Shooting Giffords
The AP reports on a video that has surfaced of the shooting rampage:
John Roll was called a fair federal judge and a loving family man at his funeral. Now, some are also calling him a hero.
Surveillance footage of the Jan. 8 shooting rampage in Tucson showed that he used his body as a shield to cover an injured man. Roll then took a bullet to the back, and lost his life in the process.
Full story here.
01/19/2011 11:02 PM EST
Giffords Family Weighs Rehabilitation Course
The AP reports:
Giffords' family hopes to move the Arizona congresswoman on Friday to TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston, where her husband lives and works as an astronaut. The exact day of the move will depend on her health.
"I am extremely hopeful at the signs of recovery that my wife has made since the shooting," Mark Kelly said in a statement released by Giffords' congressional office. The staff at University Medical Center in Tucson "has stabilized her to the point of being ready to move to the rehabilitation phase."
Full story here.