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Rep. Giffords Continues to Recover From Gunshot Wound
Date:1/13/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Reports of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' heartening medical progress continued to arrive Thursday, five days after she was struck in the head at close range by an assassin's bullet.

Giffords' doctors at University Medical Center in Tucson said Thursday morning that she was able to keep her eyes open for up to 15 minutes at a time and can move her legs and one of her hands, The New York Times reported.

"She is doing some fairly specific things with her left hand," Dr. Peter Rhee, the hospital's chief of trauma, said during a news conference. "She is yawning. She is starting to rub her eyes."

Dr. G. Michael Lemole Jr., chief of neurosurgery at the hospital, said Giffords can also "move both of her legs to command," the newspaper reported.

The next key step will be removing her breathing tube, and perhaps have her sit in a chair on Friday, said Rhee, who has treated soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The doctors want to ensure that Giffords doesn't regress and are watching for pneumonia and blood clots, the Associated Press reported.

During a speech Wednesday at the "Together We Thrive: Tucson and America" memorial, President Barack Obama said Giffords "opened her eyes" for the first time shortly after his visit with her and her husband Mark Kelly at University Medical Center, CBS News reported.

An aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) confirmed that Pelosi, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) were in the hospital room when Giffords opened her eyes. The three women are all close friends of Giffords, the news network said.

During his speech, Obama said, "Gabby opened her eyes for the first time. I can tell you, she knows we are here, she knows we love her, and she knows that we are rooting for her through what is undoubtedly g
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