Doctors treating Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords updated the media on the congresswoman's condition this morning and say she's making tremendous progress, given the circumstances.
Doctor Peter Rhee confirmed what President Barack Obama told the world last night: Giffords opened her eyes on her own as some of her colleagues and friends visited her in the hospital yesterday.
Doctors say Giffords opened her eyes once over the weekend, as well, but it was caused by forced stimulation. When she opened them yesterday, it was under her own power.
Those treating Giffords attribute her opening her eyes yesterday to the unexpected stimulation caused by hearing the voices of so many people she knows.
The fact that Giffords is able to open her eyes, doctors say, indicates that her brain's arousal center, which controls a person's ability to awake from sleep, is functioning, which is a very good sign.
In addition to opening her eyes briefly yesterday, doctors say the congresswoman is moving all of her limbs, yawning, rubbing her eyes, which she opened again this morning for about 15 minutes.
Rhee described Giffords' vision as being similar to a person's when they just wake.
Doctors describe Giffords' progress as "a major leap, a major milestone for her."
The next step going forward, doctors say, is removing her breathing tube. Doctors are discussing when to attempt that "major milestone."
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.