Wounded U.S. Congresswoman breathing on her own: doctors

LOS ANGELES. January 12. KAZINFORM U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who was seriously wounded in Saturday's shooting incident in Tucson, Arizona, was breathing on her own three days after being shot in the head, doctors said on Tuesday, Kazinform refers to Xinhua.

The congresswoman is recovering from a devastating head wound she suffered when a gunman opened fire at point-blank range on Saturday morning, The Arizona Republic reported.

"I'm happy to say she is holding her own," Michael Lemole, University Medical Center's chief of neurosurgery, said at a briefing on Giffords' condition. "She is able to follow simple commands."

Lemole said doctors are keeping a breathing tube in Giffords to clear her airways of fluids and to prevent other medical problems such as pneumonia.

In addition to Giffords, five patients remain in the hospital with three listed in serious condition and two in fair condition after the shooting rampage, the report said.

Giffords was presumably the major target in the shooting, which killed six people. In addition to Giffords, 13 others were wounded.

Giffords' brain swelling has remained at about the same level as a day ago -- a good sign, doctors said, because such swelling is the most significant risk for head-trauma patients. Doctors removed nearly half of her skull to allow the brain to freely swell and heal itself. Kazinform cites Xinhua. See www.xinhaunet.com for full version.

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