Doctors: Giffords recovery up to her

Doctors for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Wednesday the Arizona Democrat's progress was now up to her.

At a press conference at the University Medical Center in Tuscon, Ariz., where Giffords was taken after being shot at close range in the head Saturday, UMC Critical Care and Trauma Director Dr. Peter Rhee and UMC chief of neurosurgery Dr. Michael Lemole said that Giffords's recovery was now primarily in her own hands.

"This is the phase of the care where it's pretty much up to her," Lemole said. "As long as we don't backslide and as along as she keeps her own, that's good. She's going to take her recovery at her own pace."

Lemole and Rhee both cautioned that despite Giffords's promising recovery so far, her injury was very serious, and that generally recovery for gunshot wounds to the head like Giffords's are rare.

"This kind of injury, the survival, let alone recovery [rate], is abysmal," Lemole said. "I do want to underscore the seriousness of this injury and the fact that we all have to be patient."

Even though the doctors were cautious, they also said there was room for a great deal of optimism. Lemole said Giffords was breathing on her own and did not have to be sedates as heavily as in the past few days.

The doctors stressed that Giffords's recovery going forward would be at her pace. They said that because of that, it is hard to predict a recovery timeline.

Rhee said UMC had discharged four of the remaining victims. Three are still in the hospital in serious condition, two in fair condition and one — Giffords — in critical.

The shooting killed six and injured more than a dozen.