Giffords' condition upgraded, 'continues to do well'
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Giffords' condition upgraded, 'continues to do well'

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is no longer in critical condition after being shot in the head last weekend, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Giffords is now listed in serious condition, Ann Cisneros, a spokeswoman for University Medical Center said in a news release Sunday.

"The congresswoman continues to do well. She is breathing on her own. Yesterday’s procedures were successful and uneventful," she said.

Giffords was taken off a ventilator Saturday and a tracheotomy was performed on her.

The tracheotomy was done to "replace the breathing tube that ran down her throat with a tracheotomy tube in her windpipe, protecting her airway and freeing her from the ventilator," UMC spokesman Michael Griffith said Saturday.

No information on whether Giffords can speak was provided. Her doctors have said they could not determine her ability to vocalize until the breathing tube was removed.

A feeding tube as inserted as well, Griffith said.

"These procedures are not uncommon among brain-injured patients in the intensive care unit," he said.

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Although the congresswoman had been breathing on her own for several days, the ventilator was providing warm, humidified air to forestall pneumonia, doctors said last week.

The other two patients from the shooting who remain at UMC are in good condition, Cisneros said.

Giffords' physicians were not available for interviews Sunday, she said. A live medical briefing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday.

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courtesy Giffords' office

Giffords' husband Mark Kelly holds her hand last Sunday.