Giffords' Breathing Tube May Be Removed Today - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Giffords' Breathing Tube May Be Removed Today

Tucson, Arizona (CNN) -- Doctors could remove the breathing tube for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Friday as she continues on her "miracle" journey to recovery after an assassination attempt and mass shooting, her husband said.

Though the congresswoman had been shot in the head less than a week ago, she continues to make progress, her husband and doctors told CNN.

Her husband, Mark Kelly, told Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, that his wife is aware to some degree of what is going on around her. It was Kelly's first interview since the tragedy.

When asked if she knew that President Barack Obama had visited her hospital room, Kelly said yes.

"I think she did know ... though, I think she was trying to figure out what he was doing there."

Kelly also said his wife's breathing tube could be removed Friday -- a sign that she may be gaining strength.

Giffords' husband also told CNN in the Thursday interview how he first heard the terrible news. He was in Houston, he said, when he got a call saying that his wife had been shot. Worried that a commercial flight would take too long, Kelly, a NASA astronaut, flew in a friend's plane to Arizona and went to the intensive care unit after surgery.

One doctor was very optimistic that Giffords would survive, he said, while another took a more "long-term view of the future,"

"I do think about her neurological function, and it is just too early to tell what that will be," Kelly said.

The congresswoman's doctor, meanwhile, recounted her first moments in the hospital.

"My first response was I grabbed her hand, leaned into her and said 'Ms. Giffords, you're in the hospital, we're going to care for you, please squeeze my hand' and she did," Dr. Randall Friese, a trauma surgeon, told CNN in an exclusive interivew.

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