Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ, continues to follow basic commands from physicians and there has been no progression on the swelling in her brain on Tuesday, the third day after surgery following a point-blank shooting incident on Saturday.
At a medical update Tuesday, doctors said that Giffords is breathing on her own. The breathing tube will remain in place though she is capable of breathing without assistance. Doctors also said that she is alert and responsive.
Yesterday, University Medical Center Chief Neurosurgeon Dr. Michael LeMole said, At this phase in the game, no change is good and we have no change. Another press briefing on the condition of the patients is expected tomorrow
Lemole said that typically it takes between 3 to 5 days for swelling to maximize, adding that each day that goes by physicians grow more optimistic.
On Sunday, Lemole said that physicians were cautiously optimistic about Giffords' outlook but noted that brain swelling was the biggest threat she faced. At this point in her recovery, he said that Giffords' psychological function can't be measured, nor would we try.
The Congresswoman continues listed in critical condition after sustaining a gunshot to the head during a meeting with her constituents at a supermarket in Tucson on Saturday. Six people died in the shooting, including federal judge John Roll. Fourteen others were injured.
There are currently 8 patients at the center being treated due to the shooting, including five in serious condition, one in fair condition and another in good condition, according to Dr. Peter Rhee, medical director of UMC.
The bullet wound was on the left side of her head and traveled from the back to the front of her skull, Rhee told reporters Sunday. To alleviate swelling, surgeons removed a part of Gifford's skull and are preserving it until swelling subsides and it can be replaced.
Rhee said Giffords was quickly transported by paramedics and emergency response teams to the center. A fast response was the reason she reached the operating room 38 minutes after the shooting, according to a statement by UMC.
Alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner was charged by U.S. prosecutors with five counts on Sunday related to federal government employees, including two counts of murder, two of attempted murder and one of attempted assassination of U.S. Congress Member.