Washington Post: Doctors treating Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Thursday she has reached “a major milestone” medically with her ability to open her eyes and seemingly respond to her surroundings as she recovers….
In a news conference … the doctors said they were pleased that Giffords opened her unbandaged left eye “spontaneously” Wednesday night in response to the presence of friends from Congress….
G. Michael Lemole Jr., the hospital’s chief neurosurgeon, and Peter Rhee, the head of emergency care, said Giffords since then has also been able to sit on the edge of her bed and dangle her legs over the side, move both of her arms and legs and open both of her eyes.
“This is a major leap forward,” Lemole said. “This is a major milestone for her, and we’re hoping she crosses through many more.” Rhee said Giffords, 40, is “becoming more and more alert . . . and she’s making much more spontaneous movements as we have completely stopped all the medications that might blunt her mental status.”
“She’s starting to become aware of her surroundings,” Lemole said. “And that’s a very important step on her next move forward.”
…Giffords, who remains in critical condition, is one of five wounded patients who were still at the hospital Thursday morning. Rhee said four others are in fair condition. One is having surgery, and another is being discharged Thursday, he said. “Everybody is making fantastic forward progress,” Rhee said.
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