US Congresswoman Giffords off ventilator

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Seema Hakhu Kachru

Houston, Jan 16 (PTI) US Congresswoman GabrielleGiffords, who was gravely injured in a gun attack at a publicevent in Arizona''s Tucson area, is breathing on her own asdoctors removed her from a ventilator, although she remains incritical condition.

40-year-old Giffords, a Democrat, underwent a procedureyesterday to have her breathing tube removed and a tracheotomytube inserted in her windpipe to protect her airways,according to hospital sources.

She is now off ventilator, although she remains incritical condition at the University Medical Centre, theysaid.

Giffords, a House Representative, had been breathing onher own since she was shot in the head at the harrowing massshooting on January 8 by a 22-year-old gunman, who killed sixpeople and injured 12 others, but doctors had left thebreathing tube in as a precaution.

A feeding tube was also put in to provide nutrition.

Those procedures are not out of the ordinary forbrain-injured patients.

"Her recovery continues as planned," the hospital said ina statement.

Her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, has remained by herbedside.

One of those injured in the attack was dischargedyesterday while two others remained in good condition.

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