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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Rep. Giffords’ condition improves

Dr. Michael Lemole, chief of neurosurgery at University Medical Center, reports on the status of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at a press conference Monday morning.  Lemole said that Giffords has been upgraded to serious condition and may be released to rehabilition by next week.
Dr. Michael Lemole, chief of neurosurgery at University Medical Center, reports on the status of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at a press conference Monday morning. Lemole said that Giffords has been upgraded to serious condition and may be released to rehabilition by next week.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ condition improved from “critical” to “serious” on Sunday, more than a week after being shot in the head.

Giffords no longer needs a ventilator to assist her breathing and a feeding tube has been put in its place. Dr. Michael Lemole, section chief of neurosurgery at the UA Department of Surgery, said the word “miraculous” applies to Giffords’ recovery.

Doctors recently repaired a fracture on her right eye socket that was putting pressure on her eye.

The procedure required a craniotomy which “is opening a window to the skull,” Lemole said. An incision was made over her left eyebrow.

“I’m happy to say that within a few hours of the surgery, she was waking up,” Lemole said, noting that over the weekend she returned to the baseline she was at prior to the surgery.

Dr. Randall S. Friese, associate director of UMC’s Division of Trauma, Critical Care and Emergency Surgery and UA associate professor of surgery, said that Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, has told him that she has been able to smile “occasionally.”

While acknowledging that sometimes people see what they want see, Friese said, “If he says she’s smiling, I buy it.”

The next milestone Lemole wants to see is when Giffords is able to leave the hospital and go to a rehabilitation center, which could be “a matter of days to weeks.”

Giffords’ family is looking into finding the right rehabilitation center for her.

At UMC, Giffords is working with a therapist at her bedside and with her family. She was able to give her husband a backrub for 10 minutes that Lemole said indicates higher brain function.

Doctors don’t know if she is able to see out of both eyes because they cannot fully test her vision yet.

“Our suspicion is that she can see something,” Lemole said.

The other two patients from the shooting are currently in good condition and it is expected they will be released soon.

Memorial fund established for federal Judge John Roll:

The State Bar of Arizona and the UA are partnering to establish a scholarship fund in the memory of federal Judge John Roll, who was killed during the shooting on Jan. 8.

The John M. Roll Memorial Fund will provide scholarship assistance to students at the UA’s James E. Rogers College of Law, Roll’s alma mater.

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