Giffords’ Prognosis Looks Good, But Guarded
Three days after being shot, it looks like Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will survive but her long term prognosis is still uncertain:
A top doctor at the hospital treating Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) for a gunshot wound to the head said the congresswoman’s condition has not changed and that her ability to fully recover is still uncertain.
“No, there is no change, and as frustrating as that may sound, that’s a good thing,” Dr. Michael Lemole, the chief of neurosurgery at the University Medical Center in Tucson, said on NBC’s “Today” show.
Doctors have remained cautiously optimistic of Giffords’s chances for a full recovery. Dr. Peter Rhee, a surgeon treating Giffords, said Tuesday that “her prognosis for survival is 100 percent.”
As for her recovery, Lemole said a “full range” of options remain on the table.
“Without speculating, I think she has the full range ahead of her,” he said. “I’ve seen people in this area make very little improvement and require constant care and I have seen other people … who have made remarkable recoveries, functional recoveries and have gone back to work.”
Lemole said a CAT scan of Giffords’s brain Tuesday morning showed no increase in swelling — a good sign — but he cautioned the swelling could still go up.
Giffords has been able to respond to simple commands but is still in and out of consciousness. Lemole said that Giffords has registered discomfort with her breathing tube, meaning she is in pain, but he said that’s good news because it implies “purposeful consciousness.”
There’s no way of telling, yet, how much, if any, brain damage Giffords may have suffered. Under the circumstances, though, this is all good news.