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Gabrielle Giffords’ condition upgraded to serious

In yet another sign of significant recovery during a remarkable week, the condition of gravely wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was upgraded from critical to serious Sunday after a procedure to remove her from a ventilator was successful.

Giffords has responded from the moment she arrived at the emergency room Jan. 8, at first just squeezing a doctor’s hand. Then she raised two fingers. She opened her unbandaged eye shortly after President Obama’s bedside visit Wednesday. Then, more milestones – which doctors said were all indicative of higher cognitive function – were achieved, all with her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, at her side.

Kelly asked her to give him a thumbs-up if she could hear him. She did more than that. She slowly raised her left arm. By the end of the week, she had moved her legs and arms.

At the hospital, more than 100 people were gathered amid a sea of get-well balloons and cards when the University of Arizona put out a statement upgrading her condition.

“Oh, that’s great news,” said Jean Emrick, a 50-year resident of Tucson, as a violinist played in the background. “Tucson is such a special place, and she represents what’s the best of southern Arizona.”

Doctors decided to upgrade her condition because a tracheotomy done a day earlier was uneventful, hospital spokeswoman Katie Riley said. A feeding tube was also put in Saturday.

Giffords and 18 others were shot when a gunman opened fire at an event she was hosting outside a supermarket in her hometown. Six people died.

A week after the shootings, more details emerged about a victim who police said became distraught and was arrested during a town hall meeting Saturday evening.

James Eric Fuller, a self-described liberal and military veteran, started ranting at the end of the program. He took a picture of a local Tea Party leader and yelled, “You’re dead,” before calling others in the church “whores,” police said.

Deputies called a doctor and decided he should be taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation, Pima County sheriff’s spokesman Jason Ogan said.

The man Fuller is accused of threatening, Tucson Tea Party co-founder Trent Humphries, said he was worried about the threat and the dozens of other angry e-mails he has received.

Organs donated

The father of the youngest victim of the Arizona shootings says some of her organs were donated to a young girl in the Boston area.

John Green said in Sunday’s Boston Globe that the transplant “really lifted” his spirits and that he and his wife are additionally proud of their daughter, “who has done another amazing thing.”

Nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green was born Sept. 11, 2001, the day of the terrorist attacks. She had just been elected to her Tucson school’s student council, which is why she went to see Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Source: Associated Press

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