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Doctors: Giffords Smiling at Husband

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and her husband, space shuttle astronaut Mark Kelly, are seen in an undated handout photo provided by her Congressional campaign, January 8, 2011. Giffords was hit in a shooting on Saturday at a public event of the Congresswoman's at a Tucson, Arizona grocery store that also injured at least nine other people, hospital and law enforcement sources said. REUTERS/Giffords for Congress/PK Weis/Handout

Jan 18 (KATAKAMI.COM / VOA) — The husband of the Arizona congresswoman shot in the head during a shooting rampage this month says her condition has improved to the point where she gave him a 10-minute neck massage from her hospital room.

U.S. astronaut Mark Kelly said in an interview with ABC News that the action is typical of Giffords, who he said is always looking out for others. Giffords is in the intensive care unit at a Tucson hospital.

Kelly also said he would be willing to meet with the parents of 22-year-old Jared Loughner, the man charged in the shooting spree that killed six people and wounded more than a dozen others in Tucson. Kelly told the network that Loughner’s parents must be in a tremendous amount of pain because of the situation.

Giffords’ condition has been upgraded from critical to serious. Doctors treating Giffords say Kelly reported that he saw her smile. They say such encounters imply that Giffords is recognizing him and interacting perhaps in a more familiar way with him.

Separately, the doctors say Giffords had minor surgery to repair a fracture in the roof of her eye socket. They also say she is at the same baseline as before the procedure.

Giffords was shot as she met with constituents outside a grocery store January 8. The dead included a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.

The U.S. House of Representatives resumes work this week, after a one-week suspension following the attack on Giffords. The top item on the agenda for the new House Republican majority is to try to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform initiative.

Doctors have voiced optimism regarding Giffords’s chances of recovery, saying she could be released from the hospital and moved into a rehabilitation facility within “days to weeks.” Recently, she has opened her eyes and is responding to simple commands. Doctors say she is breathing on her own.

Loughner, the suspect, has been charged with five federal felony counts, including the attempted assassination of a member of the U.S. Congress.

Officials say his trial likely will be held outside of Arizona because the federal judge, John Roll, was among those killed. (*)

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Posted by on January 18, 2011 in World News

 

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U.S. congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords upgraded from critical to serious

Mark Kelly, the husband of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, holds his wife's hand in the congresswoman's hospital room at University Medical Center, January 9, 2011.

Jan 17, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / Reuters) – U.S. congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ medical condition was upgraded from critical to serious on Sunday, eight days after she was shot through the head by a gunman at close range.

Doctors said they upgraded Giffords’ condition because she was no longer attached to a ventilator, having replaced a breathing tube in her throat with a tracheotomy tube inserted into her windpipe on Saturday.

“She is breathing on her own,” said a statement released by the University Medical Center in Tucson. “Yesterday’s procedures were successful and uneventful.”

Doctors also have fitted Giffords with a feeding tube, a practice not uncommon for patients in intensive care with brain injuries.

Giffords, 40, had been the only patient in critical condition from a shooting last Saturday that left 12 other people wounded. Six more gunshot victims died in the rampage. One patient was discharged on Saturday, leaving two others hospitalized in good condition.

A 22-year-old college dropout, Jared Lee Loughner, was arrested for the shootings. He is charged with five federal counts, including the murder of a federal judge and the attempted assassination of Giffords.

Federal authorities are planning to move Loughner’s trial to San Diego because of extensive pretrial publicity in Arizona, The Washington Post reported on Sunday, citing federal law enforcement sources.

They cited publicity and the sensitivity of the case in Arizona, where one of those fatally shot was John Roll, the state’s chief federal judge, the Post said.

The new chief judge, Roslyn Silver, will make the final decision about any venue change, but one law enforcement official told the Post, “it’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of time.”

The rampage sparked a national debate about whether the vitriolic tone of partisan politics in the United States in recent years had contributed to the suspect’s motivations. (*)

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2011 in World News

 

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Doctors replace Giffords' breathing tube

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

TUCSON, Ariz, Jan 15 (KATAKAMI.COM / AP)  – Doctors on Saturday removed Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’breathing tube and could soon know if she can speak.

Giffords had an operation Saturday to replace the breathing tube with a tracheotomy tube in her windpipe. That allows her to breathe better and frees her from the ventilator.

Though Giffords had been breathing on her own since she was shot in the head Jan. 8, doctors had left the breathing tube in as a precaution. A feeding tube was also put in to provide nutrition. Those procedures are not out of the ordinary for brain-injured patients.

Giffords’ doctors have said they should be able to evaluate her ability to speak once the breathing tube is out.

Giffords, who was wounded in last weekend’s attack that killed six people, remains in critical condition at University Medical Center.

“Her recovery continues as planned,” the hospital said in a statement.

Her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, has remained by her bedside.

One patient was discharged Saturday while two others remain in good condition. (*)

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2011 in World News

 

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NASA Names Backup Shuttle Commander for Gifford’s Husband

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and her husband, space shuttle astronaut Mark Kelly, are seen in an undated handout photo provided by her Congressional campaign, January 8, 2011. Giffords was hit in a shooting on Saturday at a public event of the Congresswoman's at a Tucson, Arizona grocery store that also injured at least nine other people, hospital and law enforcement sources said. REUTERS/Giffords for Congress/PK Weis/Handout

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Jan 13 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — The U.S. space agency says it has appointed a backup commander for its upcoming April mission to the International Space Station, while the mission’s original leader tends to his wife, who was shot in the head Saturday.

In a statement Thursday, Astronaut Mark Kelly said he was “hopeful” he would be able to rejoin the mission with space shuttle Endeavor.

It is currently slotted as the final mission for NASA’s 30-year shuttle program.

Kelly’s wife, congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is recovering after being shot in an apparent assassination attempt.

NASA said Kelly remains in charge of the mission, but said designating a backup would allow the mission crew and support team to continue training in Kelly’s absence.

Meanwhile, NASA also announced new launch dates for the two remaining shuttle missions, after several delays prompted by problems with space shuttle Discovery’s external fuel tank.

NASA announced it plans to launch Discovery on February 24 and said it is targeting April 19 for Endeavor’s launch.

NASA cancelled a planned launch attempt in early November when a hydrogen leak led them to discover cracks in some of the metal supports of Discovery’s fuel tank.

Although these are the final scheduled missions, NASA has said another flight could be added mid-year, before the fleet is set to retire. (*)

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2011 in World News

 

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Speaker John Boehner : Honoring Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

John Boehner

By : Speaker John Boehner

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YOUTUBE : Speaker Boehner’s Remarks on Resolution Condemning the Attack in Tucson, AZ


Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) gave these remarks Wednesday morning on the House floor :

Washington DC. Jan 12 (KATAKAMI / THE HILL.COM) — Today, we are called here to mourn.  An unspeakable act of violence has taken six innocent lives, and left several more – including our colleague, Gabrielle Giffords – battling for theirs.  These are difficult hours for our country.

Among the fallen is Gabe Zimmerman, a member of Congresswoman Giffords’ staff … a public servant of the highest caliber … one of our own.

Even in our shock, we are composed and determined to fulfill our calling to represent our constituents.  This is the great cause for which Gabe gave his life.  Like us, Gabe swore on oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.  At the time of the attack, he was engaged in the most simple and direct of democratic rituals: listening to the people … to his neighbors.

The brutality that shattered Saturday morning’s calm was devastating, but brief.  Bravery and quick thinking prevented a massacre, turning innocent bystanders into heroes.  The service and skill of first responders and medical professionals saved lives.  Law enforcement officials are working to ensure swift justice.  Look to Tucson right now, and you will be reminded that America’s most plentiful source of wealth and strength is her people.

We are so thankful Gabby is still with us.  We are so thankful that two of her staffers who were also wounded – Ron Barber and Pam Simon – are still with us.  These are days they were not supposed to see, and we can only pray there will be more of them.

In her stead, Gabby’s staff has pressed on, opening for business Monday morning, right on schedule.  The men and women who faithfully serve the people of Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District have signaled that no act – no matter how heinous – will stop us from doing our duty and being among the people we serve.

To all of the dedicated professionals we rely on to make this institution work, to each of you: thank you for what you do.  To Gabby’s staff – and their families: please know that our hearts and prayers go out to you.

This body has yet to fully register the magnitude of this tragedy.  We feel a litany of unwanted emotions no resolution could possibly capture.  We know that we gather here without distinction of party.  The needs of this institution have always risen above partisanship.  And what this institution needs right now is strength – holy, uplifting strength.  The strength to grieve with the families of the fallen, to pray for the wounded, and to chart a way forward, no matter how painful and difficult it may be.

Today it is not ceremony, but tragedy that stirs us to renew our commitment to fulfill our oaths of office.  Let us not let this inhuman act frighten us into doing otherwise.  The free exchange of ideas is the lifeblood of our democracy, as prescribed by the First Amendment, that beacon of free expression Congresswoman Giffords recited in this well just days ago.  These rights have not been handed down by dictate – they have been preserved and protect through generations of hard sacrifice and commitment.  We will continue this unfinished work.

We will do it for Christina Taylor Green, Dorothy Morris, Phyllis Schneck, and Dorwan Stoddard, ordinary citizens who died participating in their democracy.  We will do it for Judge John Roll.  We will do it for Gabe Zimmerman.  And we will do it, God-willing, with Gabrielle Giffords.

Our hearts are broken, but our spirit is not.  This is a time for the House to lock arms, in prayer for those fallen and wounded, and in resolve to carry on the dialogue of democracy.  We may not yet have all the answers, but we already have the answer that matters most: that we are Americans, and together we will make it through this.  We will have the last word.

God bless this House.  God bless this Congress.  God bless America.  (*)

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2011 in World News

 

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Photos released from Giffords’ hospital room

The office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has provided the public with the first images from the congresswomans hospital room. (Above, below: Mark Kelly clasps hands with his wife Giffords at her bedside. Photo : YAHOO )

The office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has provided the public with the first images from the congresswoman's hospital room. (Above, below: Mark Kelly clasps hands with his wife Giffords at her bedside. Photo : YAHOO )

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2011 in World News

 

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Gabrielle Giffords in Medically Induced Coma to Help Brain Rest

Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

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Jan 9 (KATAKAMI / ABC News) — Doctors say that while the bullet that struck Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords did not hit any critical parts of the brain, whether she will survive and how fully she will recover are still unknown.

“This was a devastating wound that traveled the length of the brain on the left side,” Dr. Peter Rhee, trauma director at University Medical Center in Tucson, said during a press conference. Giffords’ family confirmed to ABC affiliate KTRK that the bullet entered the back of her head and exited through her forehead.

Giffords is currently in a medically induced coma that doctors say will help her brain rest. She had surgery to stop the bleeding and help control swelling on the left side of the brain. Doctors also had to decompress her eyes. Eyelids often swell when there is trauma to the brain.

“Brain swelling is the biggest threat at this point,” said Dr. Michael Lemole, chief of the the division of neurosurgery at the University of Arizona. To help control swelling, part of Giffords skull was removed and will be reimplanted, possibly in a few months.

Giffords was awakened periodically and she has made nonverbal responses to simple commands, but Rhee said she has not spoken because she is on a ventilator.

Lemole said Giffords was able to squeeze a doctor’s hand and hold up fingers when asked, and these responses are good signs.

“We take them for granted, but they [represent] a high level of function,” he said.

Next Days Crucial to Recovery

The next few days and weeks will be critical to determine how much brain function Giffords has lost, if any. Doctors will keep an especially close eye on the level of brain swelling and also on her ability to recover speech and movement on the right side of her body, which are controlled by the left side of the brain.

“If we do run into trouble in the next few days, we can use medical agents to dry out the brain,” said Rhee. “We can put a tube into the center of the brain to relieve the pressure, but she looks good now.”

In addition to swelling, the risks to Giffords include “CSF [cerebrospinal fluid] leakage through the entry and exit wounds, cerebral artery spasm [vasospasm], seizures, and meningitis or brain abscess,” said Dr. Neil Martin, professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in Los Angeles.

Quick Response Helped Gabrielle Giffords After Gunshot

While the worst isn’t yet over for Giffords, a number of factors played a role in her survival thus far. Rhee and Lemole said she benefited from an outstanding response from the medical team who treated her and the fact that they were able to preserve a lot of her brain tissue before the surgery.

Her chances of survival and recovery would be much worse if the bullet had passed through both parts of the brain or hit vital parts.

“Crossing both halves of the brain, involving more lobes of the brain, traversing the fluid-filled spaces of the brain, or injuring the major blood vessels at the base of the brain are all indicators of a worse prognosis,” said Dr. Atif Haque, a neurosurgeon at the Fort Worth Brain & Spine Institute. “Crossing the ‘geographic’ center of the brain is essentially non-survivable.”

Over the next few months, doctors hope to get a better idea of her cognitive deficits. Her recovery could take years, and she could be in the hospital for several months.

“The faster your recovery, the better your recovery will be. That’s a general rule of thumb,” said Lemole.

Rhee said he is optimistic based on what he has seen so far.

“When you get shot through the head and the bullet goes through your brain, the chance of your living is very small and the chance of you waking up and following commands is small.”  (*)

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2011 in World News

 

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