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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Can Move Arms, Breathe On Her Own
Date:1/12/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords continues to make progress, her doctors said Tuesday, breathing on her own and moving both arms just four days after an assassin's bullet struck her brain.

"She has a 101 percent chance of surviving," Dr. Peter Rhee, chief of trauma at Tucson's University Medical Center told the Associated Press. "She will not die."

Dr. Michael Lemole, Giffords' neurosurgeon, added that doctors have left a breathing tube in the 40-year-old woman to protect her airways, but she is drawing breaths on her own, and is alert and responding to doctors, the AP reported.

"I'm very encouraged by the fact she's done so well," Lemole said. "Given the violent nature of her injury -- a 9mm bullet through the left side of her brain -- "she has no right to look this good, and she does," the Washington Post reported.

Giffords' doctors said Monday that she was able to follow simple instructions.

They said Giffords responded to verbal commands by raising two fingers of her left hand and even managed to give a thumbs-up, the AP reported. They also said her brain remained swollen, but the pressure wasn't increasing --- a good sign for her recovery.

By Tuesday, the doctors said Giffords could raise both of her arms.

"That's why we are much more optimistic and we can breathe a collective sigh of relief after about the third day," LeMole, who described Giffords' condition as stable, said Monday.

Still, experts said Giffords likely suffered some permanent damage, but it's not yet clear how extensive that damage might be.

Dr. David Langer, director of cerebrovascular research at the Cushing Neuroscience Institutes, part of North Shore/Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Great Neck, N.Y., said: "She's probably going to survive in all likelihood, but months or even a year from
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