Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' continues to improve after being shot through the brain last weekend.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' continues to improve after being shot through the brain last weekend.

Gabrielle Giffords Off Ventilator

Doctors treating Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords following last weekend's shooting rampage in Tucson announced today that the congresswoman is no longer on a ventilator.

According to an update from the University Medical Center, where Giffords is being treated, doctors performed a procedure this morning that removed the breathing tube from the congresswoman and replaced it with a tracheotomy tube, a common procedure used on patients with brain injuries, the update says.

Doctors also inserted a feeding tube to provide the congresswoman with nutrition as she continues to recover.

Doctors said yesterday that Giffords has been breathing on her own for several days, but the breathing tube was left in place as a precaution to prevent fluid from building in her lungs, which could potentially cause pneumonia.

Giffords, the report points out, is still listed in critical condition -- a designation that is expected to change as the congresswoman's miraculous recovery continues.

The hospital also announced that one victim of last weekend's rampage has been released from the hospital and two others remain in good condition.

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