Giffords’ Doctors: ‘Everyone Is Making Fantastic Forward Progress’

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January 13, 2011 8:02 a.m.

The doctors who are treating Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and other victims of the mass shooting in Arizona said today that “everyone is making fantastic forward progress.”

Dr. Michael Lemole confirmed that Giffords has opened her eyes, saying he’s glad people heard the news from President Barack Obama because it puts a “real human side to this progress.” Lemole said the “unexpected familiarity” of having friends and family visit is potentially what caused Giffords to open her eyes.[TPM SLIDESHOW: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords: On The Job In Arizona]

The doctors are now doing physical therapy with Giffords, including dangling her legs over the side of the bed, which Lemole said helps gauge the strength in her legs.

“I will say that she is able to move both of those legs to command,” Lemole said. “That’s huge.”

Lemole acknowledged the “intangibles” that aid in the recovery process, referring to the company of friends and family.

“Miracles happen every day,” he said. “A lot of medicine is outside of our control, and we’re wise to acknowledge miracles.”

Dr. Peter Rhee said one patient still remains in critical condition, and four remain in fair condition.

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