Doctors say Giffords responding to commands after surgery

By JORDANA HORN
January 9, 2011 21:46

 
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NEW YORK -- Doctors on Sunday were optimistic about US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' survival, with the Associated Press reporting that she was responding to commands after undergoing hours of surgery Saturday night.

Surgeons told the Associated Press that a bullet went through Giffords' head on the left side of the brain, but she can respond nonverbally to commands such as squeezing a hand or showing two fingers. Giffords cannot speak because she is on a ventilator.

Doctors credited several reasons for her survival, including good luck and the fact that paramedics got her to surgeons quickly - in under 40 minutes.

"This is about as good as it is going to get," said Dr. Peter Rhee, a trauma surgeon, to the Associated Press. "When you get shot in the head and the bullet goes through your brain, the chances of you living is very small and the chances of you waking up and actually following commands is even much smaller than that. Hopefully it will stay that way.”

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