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Giffords upgraded to serious condition

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

Doctors at University Medical Center have been almost giddy describing her progress since she was shot point-blank in the head Jan. 8.

Giffords responded from the moment she arrived at the emergency room, at first just squeezing a doctor's hand. Then she raised two fingers. She opened her unbandaged eye shortly after President Barack Obama's bedside visit Wednesday.

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

Doctors decided to upgrade her condition because the tracheotomy done a day earlier was uneventful, hospital spokeswoman Katie Riley said. A feeding tube was also put in Saturday. On Saturday, doctors speculated that they might soon know if she could speak.

Giffords and 18 others were shot when a gunman opened fire at a meet-and-greet she was hosting outside a supermarket in her own hometown. Six people died. - AP

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