Doctors treating Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' upgraded her condition to serious from critical on Sunday because she is no longer on a ventilator.
The Congresswoman continues to do well. She is breathing on her own. Yesterday’s procedures were successful and uneventful, the University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona said on Sunday.
Her husband Mark Kelley said in a published report on Monday that recovery will be a matter of weeks and months.
And so she's got a long tough road ahead of her. But, you know, she's a really, really tough woman, he said.
On Saturday, doctors performed a tracheotomy on Giffords, which involved creating a hole through the front of the neck and into the windpipe protecting her airway and freeing her from the ventilator.
She is currently using a feeding tube to provide nutritional support. Doctors noted the procedures are not uncommon among brain-injured patients in the Intensive care unit.
Giffords, who suffered a headshot wound in the Tucson massacre on Jan.8, has been improving steadily over the past week.
Giffords, who was hollding a constituent event at a shopping center, was apparently the main target in the shootings, which took the lives of six people and injured 14. Tucson resident Jared Lee Loughner, 22, has been charged in the shootings and is in custody.
Soon after the shooting, Giffords was following simple commands from doctors such as squeezing someone's hand. She was later able to open her eyes and doctors put her an an aggressive physical therapy plan which included moving her legs.
There are currently two other patients at the medical center who were victims of the shootings. They are listed in good condition.