Doctors open breathing hole in Giffords' throat

TUCSON, Arizona Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:25pm EST

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) is seen in an undated handout photo provided by her Congressional campaign, January 8, 2011. REUTERS/Giffords for Congress/Handout

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) is seen in an undated handout photo provided by her Congressional campaign, January 8, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Giffords for Congress/Handout

Related Video

TUCSON, Arizona (Reuters) - Doctors performed a tracheotomy on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday, inserting a breathing tube through a hole in her neck and removing her from a ventilator, hospital officials said.

It was the first time Giffords was removed from the ventilator since last Saturday, when she arrived at University Medical Center after a gunman shot her through the head.

Giffords, 40, remains the only patient in critical condition from the shooting that wounded 12 others. Six more victims were killed in the rampage.

One patient was discharged on Saturday, and two remain hospitalized in good condition.

In the tracheotomy performed on Saturday, doctors replaced a breathing tube running down Giffords' throat with the tube inserted through a hole in her neck, the hospital said in a written statement.

A feeding tube also was inserted into Giffords, a practice not uncommon for patients in intensive care with brain injuries, the hospital said.

Doctors have expressed satisfaction with Giffords' recovery from the bullet wound.

In recent days the congresswoman has opened her eyes and is tracking movement of objects before her, and following simple commands, such as raising fingers and wiggling toes.

Giffords, a Democrat representing Tucson and southern Arizona, was just elected to her third term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jared Lee Loughner, a 22-year-old college dropout, is charged as the lone gunman in the rampage.

(Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Greg McCune)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (10)
moweddell wrote:
Everyone wishes Cong. Giffords God’s blessings and hope for a quick and full recovery. Monty Weddell Dallas, TX

Jan 15, 2011 5:15pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Slava2 wrote:
May God Bless you and your family,you are doing well and are missed by so many people.Keep up the great work and know we are praying and pulling for you.Thing’s will be fine.
God Bless,
Friends from Ohio.

Jan 15, 2011 5:21pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Bilbo16 wrote:
It is not necessary to make the political reference in this report, we are not talking politics, we are talking about the wellbeing on a congresswoman from AZ. The press wants to continue to “gin up” the political aspect of everything that happens in our nation. Get a life and learn to report what is critical to the topic.

Jan 15, 2011 5:32pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.