"She'll likely have a deficit in the near term, but we don't know if she'll end up in a wheelchair like James Brady [President Ronald Reagan's press secretary who was injured by a bullet during a 1981 assassination attempt on the president] or a functioning Congresswoman. We can't know," added Langer, who was not involved with Giffords' care.
Giffords was gravely injured, 13 others were wounded, and six people, including a 9-year-old girl, were killed when a 22-year-old man, Jared Loughner, pulled out a semiautomatic Glock pistol in front of a Safeway supermarket in Tucson, where Giffords was meeting constituents. A Democrat, she was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2006.
The fact that Giffords is alive is a bit of a miracle.
According to Langer, 90 percent of people with gunshot wounds to the head die.
"This sounds like a relatively mild form of a gunshot wound and that does happen, based on the trajectory," Langer explained. "Certainly she has the opportunity to be as best as she can, given the aggressiveness of what [her doctors] have done. She has a chance of making a good recovery, but good has a lot of different meanings."
In the Tuesday news briefing, Giffords' doctors revised their interpretation of the path of the bullet, saying they now believe she was shot in the forehead with the bullet traversing the left side of the brain and exiting out the back. They had previously thought the bullet had entered through the back of Giffords' head.
The latest conclusions came from a review of X-rays and brain scans and discussions with two outside physicians, the AP reported.
"The trajectory [of the bullet] itself is not that different but it's reversed. Instead of being shot in the back of the head and exiting from the front, now it's shot into the forehead above the eye, which is the frontal lobe," said Dr. Anders Cohen, chief of neurosu
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