Doctors More Optimistic About Giffords' Recovery

By: PAULINE ARRILLAGA, PAUL DAVENPORT & AMANDA LEE MYERS - Associated Press Writers
By: PAULINE ARRILLAGA, PAUL DAVENPORT & AMANDA LEE MYERS - Associated Press Writers

Doctors are breathing a sigh of relief as Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords reaches a second day since her surgery without increased swelling in her brain.

Neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Lemole of Tucson's University Medical Center says Giffords is still responding to doctors and her condition is stable. Her brain remains swollen, but the pressure hasn't increased. He says they're much more optimistic.

Of those injured in the deadly shooting Saturday in Tucson, eight are still hospitalized. Giffords is in critical condition. Five others are in serious condition, and two in good condition.

A federal judge, a congressional aide and a nine-year-old girl, Christina Taylor Green, were among the six people killed, while Giffords and 13 others were injured.

On Monday, the Arizona Legislature begins its 2011 regular session amid somber circumstances: the aftermath of a shooting in Tucson that left 20 people killed or injured and left Giffords critically wounded.

The House and Senate convened at noon and later hold a joint session to hear Gov. Jan Brewer's State of the State address.

Brewer's office says her speech will be shortened and significantly revised due to the shooting. Normally the address covers the governor's proposals for legislative action.

House Speaker Kirk Adams says lawmakers are also abbreviating and revising their own proceedings, saying it's the appropriate thing to do.

Giffords was a legislator before resigning in 2006 to run for Congress.

Meanwhile, the neurosurgeon treating Giffords says she's "holding her own."

In a television interview, Dr. Michael LeMole of Tucson's University Medical Center says the congresswoman could be "out of the woods" in the next few days, or possibly a week.

Giffords, who was shot in the head at close range Saturday morning as she met with constituents in Tucson, has responded to some commands.

Jared Loughner is charged with five federal charges, including one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress. More charges are expected. The 22 year old is expected in court Monday.

LeMole says there's no timetable for Giffords' recovery. He says "We don't close the book on recovery for years. So it'll take as long as it takes."

At the time of the shooting, three people helped subdue Lougher.

Pima Co. Sheriff Clarence Dupnik says Patricia Maisch was waiting in line with her husband to get a photo with Giffords. When the shooting started, she ran up to the suspect and grabbed the empty magazine, then grabbed a full magazine as he was loading it into the gun.

Two men helped subdue the suspect, Roger Sulzgeber, who was also in line, and Joseph Zimudie, who was at a nearby Walgreens and heard the shooting.

Maisch says she believes the two men got to the gun the same time she got to the magazine.

At the same time, Christina Taylor Green's father says she was "a beautiful, young, vibrant girl."

The nine year old, who was born on September 11, 2001, was among the six people killed Saturday.

In a television interview, John Green says the hospital staff worked hard on his daughter, who he called a fighter, but they couldn't save her.

Christina, an aspiring politician, had just been elected to the student council at Tucson's Mesa Verde Elementary School. A neighbor took her to meet Giffords at a constituents' gathering.

The unidentified neighbor was shot four times but survived and is recovering from surgery.

Green says this type of tragedy shouldn't happen anywhere, but he says that in a free society "we're going to be subject to people like this."

©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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