Giffords’s doctor on new progress: “We are wise to acknowledge miracles”

Lemole said it is the job of doctors to do their best for severely damaged patients, but sometimes, as in Giffords’ case, “we are wise to acknowledge miracles.”

Thursday morning, Giffords was acting more and more like someone waking up, said Dr. Peter Rhee, chief of trauma surgery at the medical center — yawning and rubbing her eyes. He said her eyes also are beginning to track movements, which is another good sign.

The next major hurdle, the doctors said, will be removing the breathing tube, but they are unlikely to do that for a few more days. They are using it to puff warm, moist air into her lungs to prevent fluid accumulation that could lead to pneumonia. Giffords is breathing on her own, however.

Once the tube is out, they will be able to assess her ability to speak.