Positive News in Gabrielle Giffords' Recovery

By: CBS
By: CBS

More positive news about the recovery of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Doctors say her progress so far is nothing short of miraculous. Six people were killed and more than a dozen wounded in the shooting that left Giffords clinging to life.

Doctors say Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords could be ready to leave the hospital for a rehabilitation center in a matter of weeks or even sooner.

"I think a full functional recovery is possible,” said neurosurgeon Dr. Lemole. “I'm not going to promise it, and she certainly can't promise it, but if she works hard I think it's possible."

Nine days after Giffords was shot in the head, she continues to make remarkable progress.

Her latest breakthroughs: smiling at her husband, Mark Kelly, and even giving him a neck rub.

“It implies a lot of things: that she is seeing him, that she is recognizing him and that it's stirring an emotion in her,” said Dr. Lemole. “The rapidity of the recovery is something I couldn't have hoped for."

Giffords's condition has been upgraded from critical to serious. Over the weekend, doctors took her off the ventilator installed a feeding tube and repaired a fractured eye socket.

Giffords's neurosurgeon said there's every reason to believe she'll eventually be able to go back to work. But right now, it's as if she's emerging from a lengthy concussion and just starting to come out of the fog.

Also on Monday, a memorial service was held for 30-year-old Gabe Zimmerman, Giffords's director of community outreach who was killed in the shooting.

And the family of the youngest victim, 9-year-old Christina Green, said her donated corneas have helped save the eyesight of two other children.

Here at the hospital, the vigil at Giffords's bedside has turned ever more hopeful.

When asked, “What's going through your heart right now?" Dr. Lemole responded, "Definitely elation, definitely joy, there's no question.”

But doctors warn it will still be a long, slow recovery.

Giffords's husband reportedly says that he is willing to meet with the parents of the suspected gunman, Jared Loughner and that the shooting is not their fault.


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