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Doctors: Giffords can talk, walk, knows she was shot

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Associated Press


She can talk, even saying short sentences. With some help, she can walk. Her awareness has grown to the point that she knows she was shot.

But for doctors, some of the greatest moments in treating Rep. Gabrielle Giffords occur when her true personality shines through and she shares with them big grins and excitement over milestones in her recovery from a devastating gunshot wound to the head.

Doctors provided the new details about Giffords’ condition Friday, their first official update since she began intensive rehabilitation in Houston on Jan. 26. Until now, tidbits of information came from friends and family, but the doctors, those with the understanding and knowledge of what each setback and step forward means for long-term recovery, remained tight-lipped.

“I’m very happy to report that she’s making leaps and bounds in terms of neurological recovery,” said Dr. Dong Kim. “She’s doing spectacularly well.”

Dr. Kim and two other members of her medical team described several breakthroughs in Giffords’ recovery. Her breathing tube was removed last week. She also can express desires, such as, “I’m tired. I want to go to bed.”

Giffords can’t remember the shooting, but her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, has told her about the incident, though it remains unclear whether she knows six people were killed and 12 others injured at the Jan. 8 political event in Tucson, Ariz.