Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords remained in critical condition Sunday but doctors remained optimistic about her chances for survival.
Giffords, a target of an alleged assassination attempt by a 22-year-old gunman was able to respond to simple commands, surgeons at the University Medical Center in Tucson said in a press conference.
The bullet apparently went through Giffords’ head on the left side of her brain, but "not through some of those critical trajectories" that would've made recovery more difficult, said Dr. Michael Lemole, Jr., chief of neurosurgery at the hospital. Giffords is able to respond to commands by showing two fingers or squeezing hands.
Surgeons credited speedy response time and luck for Giffords’ survival.
"This is about as good as it is going to get," said Dr. Peter Rhee, a trauma surgeon. "When you get shot in the head and the bullet goes through your brain, the chances of you living is very small and the chances of you waking up and actually following commands is even much smaller than that. Hopefully it will stay that way."
Brain swelling is the biggest threat Giffords faces, Lemole said.
Sources: msnbc.com, cnn.com