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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Doctors Free Giffords From Ventilator : NPR

Gabrielle Giffords, Democratic nominee and gen...Image via WikipediaDoctors Free Giffords From Ventilator : NPR

Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords no longer needs a ventilator, hospital officials in Tucson said.

The officials at University Medical Center said Giffords underwent a procedure 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. Doctors also inserted a feeding tube. Those procedures are not uncommon 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.

"Her recovery continues as planned,'' the hospital said in a statement.

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

One patient who was injured in the shooting was discharged Saturday, while two others remain in good condition.

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