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January 10th, 2011
06:25 AM ET

Gupta: What helped Giffords survive brain shot

CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a practicing trauma neurosurgeon and associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is in critical condition on a ventilator after being shot through the back of the left side of her head, yet doctors are “cautiously optimistic” about her survival. That she is alive at all is surprising to many people, but people survive these types of injuries more often than you may think.

While every patient and injury is different, on average – around 2/3 of patients with a gunshot wound (GSW) to the head don’t live long enough to make it to the hospital. Of the third that do make it, only 50% of those patients survive longer than 30 days. And of course, those numbers say nothing of long-term neurological function in the survivors.

So far, according to her doctors, Giffords is likely to be in the small minority of patients who will beat the odds. So, what placed those odds in her favor?

First off, she received very quick care, and was in the operating room within 38 minutes after arriving at the hospital. Her overall health and youth also provide some benefit. The injury was a “through and through” injury, meaning there was both an entry and exit wound. That’s significant because some of the energy of the bullet was dissipated into space, as opposed to all within her cranial cavity.

Neurosurgeons will want to know if the bullet passed across the midline of the brain. If it does, there is a much poorer likelihood of survival. In Giffords' case, it did not. Other positive factors: Her blood pressure didn't drop as a result of the bleeding, and the oxygen supply in her body was maintained, according to her doctors that I interviewed.

Finally, the fact Giffords was “following commands” even before she had an operation was a very positive sign.

To follow commands signifies a higher level of brain function than simple reflexive movement. It indicates that she was able to hear the command. She was able to process the meaning of that command, and finally, she was able to execute the command. I spoke to Dr. Randall Friese, the trauma surgeon who examined Giffords when she arrived at the hospital. He told me she was clearly able to understand him, and squeezed his hand when asked to do so. And, after the operation, Giffords was still able to follow commands.

During an operation like this, doctors want to control bleeding, remove fragments of bone that have penetrated the brain, and remove any dead brain tissue along the trajectory of the bullet.

Also, her neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Lemole, removed additional bone on the left side of her head, as I explain in the video above.  That is called a craniectomy, and is done to prevent the catastrophic consequences of brain swelling, which is a big and real concern over the next several days. Think of it like this: Unlike organs in others parts of your body, if the brain swells, it has no place to expand - as it is confined by the rigid skull. Because Lemole removed portions of the skull, he provided extra room for the brain to swell. Incidentally, the bone that’s removed is saved, and put back in the head during a future operation.

In medicine and surgery, doctors are reluctant to quote statistics, because every patient is a true individual –that includes Gabrielle Giffords. And, no doubt, Giffords is not “out of the woods” yet. But, “cautiously optimistic” sounds pretty good after an injury as devastating as this one.



soundoff (324 Responses)
  1. matt baron

    Outstanding explanation; as someone who knows little about medicine, I appreciate the clarity here.

    January 10, 2011 at 07:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      Yes! Dr. G is a fab teacher, along with his other exceptional traits. What a guy. Must have a very proud mom and dad.

      January 10, 2011 at 11:50 | Report abuse |
    • kwag

      Sanjay's the one I'd want on my team if I were injured. He's great at explanations without talking down to a person. Really smart and it seems like he really likes his work.

      January 10, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
    • rh

      Yes, I really appreciate the explanation and clarity of it.

      Everything in life is a dice roll, but it helps to have a lot of pull.

      January 10, 2011 at 15:35 | Report abuse |
    • Marilyn

      I have a brother who died of the same type of gunshot wound to the head, he died...the only thing that helps in any situation is your status, the money you have, and who you are....that is why she is still alive, Doctors like alot of other medical providers work harder if you have the money to pay for the stay, and are a celebrity, or a public figure it raises there own presence in the community.

      January 13, 2011 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
  2. P.J.

    Too bad you didn't.

    January 10, 2011 at 07:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. ray gibbs

    excellent report on our brave Congresswoman

    January 10, 2011 at 07:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jimmy the freak

      What makes her brave is the fact that she continued to meet with the people, even after death threats. I doubt if I would have gone out in public if I knew someone had me in his ( or her) crosshairs.

      January 10, 2011 at 09:37 | Report abuse |
    • hersh

      What makes her brave. 1:) She continued as a public servant after death threats. 2:) She is a public servant in such a cynical society. 3:) She is fighting for her life after some "nut job" shot her in the head.
      Did Ray Gibbs even mention the 9 year old girl in his post? No. So why do you? He was commenting on Giffords.

      January 10, 2011 at 10:07 | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      For all of you out there who have not been married death threats for your point of view is not uncommon. Mostly you understand that it is very unlikely to ever happen and it is just words. It's only the true phsyco who actually cary anything out.

      January 10, 2011 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
    • Lise Quinn

      @John Que 3000
      The comment of her being brave is not related to the nine year old. It does not imply that anyone else was unbrave. It simply is a comment about the congresswoman. No hidden agenda, no disrespect to anyone.

      January 10, 2011 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
    • Alana

      Your comment was really irrelevant and unneeded, John Que 3000.

      January 10, 2011 at 19:21 | Report abuse |
  4. spell checker

    Do you wish to replace
    editiors with
    editors?

    January 10, 2011 at 07:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. jonjay

    He was demonstrating what was spelled wrong pj....

    January 10, 2011 at 07:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Alvin

    Credit also deserves to be given to her 20YO intern Daniel. The news on CNN states that within seconds he was on the ground propping her head up so that she could breath easier as well as using his bare hands to minimize bleeding. When employees brought out smocks, he then applied pressure using those to apply pressure to the wound. He held her hand the entire ride to the hospital which I'm sure was priceless in helping to minimize the shock she was experiencing. Great job done by a young man in a horrific situation.

    January 10, 2011 at 07:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BGSU81

      He greatly reduced the risk of death right then and there.

      January 10, 2011 at 07:26 | Report abuse |
    • stew

      I agree, Alvin. More credit should be given to her aide. His basic medical training probably made more of a difference to her outcome than anything else.

      January 10, 2011 at 12:24 | Report abuse |
    • stew

      ...well...getting her to surgery at least. I don't want to downplay the surgeon's or surgeons' role(s) in this, but had this guy not jumped in immediately, she might not have survived long enough to get to surgery.

      January 10, 2011 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      My thoughts exactly. In Army Medic training, you're taught that initial triage has a huge impact on the survival of devastating wounds.

      January 10, 2011 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
    • looking_at_you

      I agree with this post 100%. The intern was a life saver for the congresswoman. I pray for a complete recovery for the congresswoman and all other’s who were injured. May the good LORD rest the souls of those who have gone before us; and comfort their bereaved families? The loss hit me hard and I do not know any of the victims; however I am a citizen of the USA and I am ashamed of this action and the state of our homeland. The loss of the 9 year old young girl is heartbreaking. May the LORD add a blessing to the bereaved parent’s and the entire bereaved family.

      It's time to make a change!

      Here's Looking at You!

      January 10, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      I agree that his quick thinking helped keep her alive. First response is always crucial.

      January 10, 2011 at 23:22 | Report abuse |
  7. ReginaPhalange

    This is likely the result of trying to get the info out quickly–just like all the news agencies were so anxious to get the news out quickly and kept reporting that Giffords was dead for quite a while before anyone had any reliable sources.

    I don't think Gupta's credibility is in question because of a few typos. If that's all it takes for you, then no doctor has any credibility. Have you ever tried to read their writing? LOL

    January 10, 2011 at 07:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. dr c

    Wow, if your brain cannot process the message because of a spell check error, maybe you were the one shot in the back of the head. As a doctor reading and writing a thousand notes and orders a week, it amazes me how many people can't wait to pounce on the part of the message that required the least brain power. Thanks Dr. G

    January 10, 2011 at 07:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • McShanks

      Wow. Really?

      January 10, 2011 at 09:16 | Report abuse |
    • abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

      Yep realE

      January 10, 2011 at 10:25 | Report abuse |
    • JT

      "As a doctor [...], it [...]." Way to go, buddy, on your own proper use of grammar. I'm glad a doctor is an "it" now.

      January 10, 2011 at 22:42 | Report abuse |
    • Jackie

      JT: In this sentence, "it" does not refer to the doctor, but to the fact that people continually jump down the throats of those who write difficult articles because of petty grammar errors. Your lack of reading comprehension completely undermines your derision of this sentence.

      January 10, 2011 at 23:33 | Report abuse |
  9. Jim

    Yes, I read about the intern's quick response. He is a hero. Sanjay Gupta always does an outstanding job. Great report as we all hope for the Congresswoman's recovery and wish her family well and some level of comfort.

    January 10, 2011 at 07:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. john

    Well let us all pray that Mrs Gifford recovers soon. Very lucky indeed. Gun control people, gun control!!!!

    January 10, 2011 at 07:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DUH

      Gun control? If all 20 victims actually had guns with them during the shooting, the perp would have been dead before he fired the 3rd round.

      January 10, 2011 at 08:38 | Report abuse |
    • medic Jim

      Agreed. Because this countries anti-crime laws have kept us sooo much safer. When guns are outlawed...you know the rest.

      January 10, 2011 at 08:39 | Report abuse |
    • Tex JB

      DUH - Maybe, but how much other collateral damage would there have been? If you have several people shooting, how do you know which one is the perp?

      January 10, 2011 at 09:03 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      As always your type gets it backwards in a feeble attempt to place blame on inanimate objects. It isn't Gun control people...it is...people control gun. You're only adding to the problem by directing the blame away from people...creating another excuse.

      January 10, 2011 at 09:18 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      It sounds like a lot of people knew this guy was crazy. If he was able to obtain this gun legally, I think that is a pretty big flaw in our current gun control process.

      January 10, 2011 at 09:51 | Report abuse |
    • DP

      >>>Gun control? If all 20 victims actually had guns with them during the shooting, the perp would have been dead before he fired the 3rd round.<<<

      Yeah, or 17 people would be killed because everyone's shooting at everyone else. Or, the police show up and don't know WHO THE SUSPECT IS BECAUSE 36 PEOPLE HAVE GUNS DRAWN.

      But yeah, other than that, it's a perfect solution to arm everyone to the teeth.

      January 10, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
    • Subbiepops

      "arm everyone to the teeth"

      I'm not exactly sure where you read that statement, but I don't believe the intent was that everyone should be armed to the teeth. I believe there are arguments for and against gun control – Making it tougher to obtain guns will only prevent honest people from obtaining them. Unless guns are elliminated from this earth, there is nothing to prevent a determined individual from obtaining a device that will shoot a projectile. Whether it be home-made or purpose-built, if there is criminal intent, that individual will figure out a way. So, we elliminate ALL firearms from the face of the earth . . . then we start elliminating ANYTHING that can be used as a weapon? Where do we stop?

      Instead of becoming a closed-in society where we live in constant fear, why don't we make bigger examples of individuals that can not live by the rule of law? Have fun with that one . . .

      January 10, 2011 at 11:37 | Report abuse |
    • DP

      Sorry, my comment was specifically referencing the idea that EVERYONE should be carrying guns. To me, there's no difference between carrying one gun vs. 10 guns.

      January 10, 2011 at 11:42 | Report abuse |
    • mental

      what we need is a metal assessment from a licensed doctor before you are able to purchase a gun. anyone that is on a anti psychotic drug should not be allowed to own a gun or reside in a home with guns. it just makes sense.

      January 10, 2011 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
    • DesertRat

      I'm a conservative and for better gun control. I don't care if people can carry strapped, own a small arnsenal, whatever–but you should have to pass a psych eval and have a longer waiting period to allow for a better background check. The latter probably wouldn't have helped here, but the first would've. I doubt having anyone else armed would've helped, unless you're talking about a trained individual. People really underestimate what adrenaline and shock can do to your ability to act effectively.

      January 10, 2011 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
    • Colin in Florida

      In England and Australia it's almost impossible for average people to own handguns. Yet they still have armed robberies in those countries, with crooks having illegal guns.

      January 10, 2011 at 19:01 | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      Nobody here seems to realize that in Arizona you can already carry a loaded gun without a concealed weapon permit. Totally legal there. Impact it made on the crime? None. If people there had them, they wisely chose not to use them in a crowd.

      January 10, 2011 at 21:30 | Report abuse |
    • Jon Samuel

      DP – not sure what you are smoking that impairs your judgment. If the public were "armed to the teeth" there wouldn't be "36 people with weapons drawn when the police arrive". There would be a dead murderer, fewer victims and hundreds of witnesses to help the police sort it out. An armed citizen that just shot a mass murderer is not going to be pointing a weapon at the police. He will be handing his weapon to the police. Your solution to "wait for the police" resulted in a lot of dead bodies in this case.

      January 10, 2011 at 23:54 | Report abuse |
  11. emunadate

    We need to find better security to protect our people. Maybe we can learn from Israel. They have the best security in the world....http://emunadate.blogspot.com/2011/01/packages.html

    January 10, 2011 at 07:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JoeW

      First, great report by Sanjay Gupta. Very concise and clear–very informative.

      Second, it always amazes me how the answer to anything security-wise is "do what the Israeli's do." We do learn a lot from them. But their security situation is somewhat different from our's–they tend to have a very definable "enemy" with a strong database that they use to identify potential risks. The suspect in this case wasn't from Al Qaeda, he was a US citizen. It's somewhat comparable to Itzhak Rabin being assassinated by a fellow Israeli.

      January 10, 2011 at 08:34 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Most all adults in Israel own and many carry firearms. Something to think about ... Tho there often isn't much actual new thinking or open minds in discussions of firearms. Maybe if everyone started by thinking "I could be wrong" ...

      January 10, 2011 at 08:43 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I agree that Israel gets a lot right with security. But lets be honest, would you feel safer in Israel or the US? If you go by the numbers, I think you will find that it is much safer in the US.

      January 10, 2011 at 09:58 | Report abuse |
    • Jared

      If you think our federal budget is bloated now, just try installing Israeli type security for our nation.

      January 10, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
    • DP

      >>>Most all adults in Israel own and many carry firearms. Something to think about ... Tho there often isn't much actual new thinking or open minds in discussions of firearms. Maybe if everyone started by thinking "I could be wrong" ...<<<

      And, what the most prevalent form of this kind of thing in Israel? Suicide bombings? Blowing up buses? So, you're advocating that we elevate the level of violence by arming everyone? Nice.

      January 10, 2011 at 10:43 | Report abuse |
    • Subbiepops

      "So, you're advocating that we elevate the level of violence by arming everyone?"

      Again you make an assumption Mark is advocating arming everyone 'en-masse? Where do you read that at? I believe it was simply a statement, not a recommendation. Now, is it a statement in fact? I have no idea, I don't live in Isreal, but I do have the capability to do my own independant research if I choose (I don't).

      I believe the better take away from Mark's statement is "I could be wrong". But I do realize that has very deep meaing, so just think on it for a while. It will eventually make sense to you . . .

      January 10, 2011 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
  12. tct

    You need a different kind of doctor.

    January 10, 2011 at 07:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Me

    While you're at it, replace "suvive" with "survive," too. (And this thing has spellcheck!)

    January 10, 2011 at 07:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • cherie

      Don't be so uppity. This is not about spelling and grammar! People are dead and in intensive care fighting for life.

      January 10, 2011 at 15:11 | Report abuse |
  14. Fred

    Maybe better security would include NOT selling guns to crazy people

    January 10, 2011 at 07:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bb

      agreed

      January 10, 2011 at 08:22 | Report abuse |
    • dissenter

      So now we let the state decide who is crazy and voila. Dissenters beware. The USA is becoming more lock-step than ever.

      January 10, 2011 at 11:31 | Report abuse |
    • snowed in in atl

      Well, the alternative seems to be that dissenters are shot and occasionally killed.

      January 10, 2011 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Well, my belief is "don't sell guns to anyone", but I know that is unpopular.

      January 10, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
  15. Fred

    "First off, she received very quick care, and was in the operating room within 38 minutes after arriving at the hospital"

    ...as opposed to the other 99% of people who get shot, who are not politicians, and so do NOT get special treatment!

    January 10, 2011 at 07:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Josh

      Her Status did not have anything to do with the prompt care she received. If the same thing was to happen to you or I we would receive the same standard of care. It is asinine to assume otherwise!

      January 10, 2011 at 08:32 | Report abuse |
    • jerry

      Josh, you must have never been to Henry County Medical Center, you will bleed to death in that place if you do not have insurance, and or, you are not in with the so called in crowd.

      January 10, 2011 at 09:29 | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Josh,

      Actually, I think it is assinine and more than a little naive to beleive that the level of care she recieved is the same as some poor kid who gets shot in the street.

      January 10, 2011 at 09:56 | Report abuse |
    • DesertRat

      Perhaps I'm a little biased since my kid has been at UMC a lot, but I suspect her "luck" has a lot more to do with the fact that she was within minutes of Southern Arizona's only Level 1 trauma center, with a lead neurosurgeon who served in the military. UMC has some of the best docs in the region there.

      January 10, 2011 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
    • gayleprints

      I disagree that her status brought special treatment "some poor kid from the street" wouldn't get. My cousin was shot in the head in a dispute in L.A. a few years ago. Similar injury – GSW to the left side of the head, only passing through one hemisphere of the brain. He has recovered fully, minus some physical limitations of the right arm / hand. It has ALOT to do with the individual's ability to heal, and post-injury therapies.

      January 10, 2011 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
  16. marycnnhealth

    Hi Lucas. Thanks for pointing out our typo. It's fixed now.

    January 10, 2011 at 07:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. medic Jim

    It was a TEAM effort that saved this woman; fast acting bystanders, EMS, ER staff, OR staff, etc....

    January 10, 2011 at 07:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Tom

    Excellent explanation..thank you and best wishes to the Giffords and all those affected by this horrendous act.

    January 10, 2011 at 07:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Jerry

    It is an excellent blog post. Thank you Dr Gupta. If I were you, though, I would immediately fire your editors. As a neurosurgeon, you likely demand a high level of perfection. Given that your editors either can't spell or don't take the time to check is terrible.

    January 10, 2011 at 07:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jason

      Yeah, Jerry, because you've never made any mistakes at your job.

      Plus, more unemployment is exactly what this country needs.

      Take a chill pill and call me in the morning.

      January 10, 2011 at 09:55 | Report abuse |
    • Barb

      Jason, how about hiring editors that do a good job? The amount of spelling and grammatical errors is atrocious basically across the board on news reports lately. The idea that "as long as you can understand what they're trying to say, don't worry about it" is pathetic. And people wonder why the US is falling behind education-wise compared with the rest of the world.

      January 10, 2011 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
  20. Michael Stockton

    Will the congresswoman's doctors use controlled hypothermia to counter swelling?

    January 10, 2011 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. charlotte

    Can't believe people are upset over spelling in a case like this. Come on people grow up. Idiots!

    January 10, 2011 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. mari s.

    @john...yes! Indeed as Americans we seem to relish our guns. I believe in gun control. How many more and senseless murders are enough? Our right to bear arms is not going to bring back a 9 year old girl. This country is a violent country with violent and disturbed people posessing guns. The argument for is lame. Sorry screw that amendment.

    January 10, 2011 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medic Jim

      Yep, all our other anti crime laws have made this country sooooo much safer.

      January 10, 2011 at 08:29 | Report abuse |
    • Nikki

      Guns don't kill people people do. Trite but true. And no I’m not a gun owner.

      We need to address the root cause – bad people – there are no deterrents anymore. Lawyers and law liberalization has created a situation where criminals are treated like victims and victims like criminals. Victims have no rights. Criminals are catered to and often get off scot free or with ridiculous sentences that are mere slaps on the wrists. Criminals should be sent away for their entire sentence – not one year for a 20 year sentence. They should not get free room and board – they should work for it on public projects. And should be made to pay for extras like TV, books etc.

      While this would not be a silver bullet (pardon the pun) it would make some strong strides towards the insane situation we have today.

      January 10, 2011 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
    • Subbiepops

      Nikki – Thank You! Finally someone makes sense . . . We need to hold those that can NOT live within our laws accountable for their actions, PERIOD! Tougher gun control laws WON'T elliminate crime.

      Please, extend your thoughts of tougher gun laws into the future . . . So we elliminate ownership of guns to "only those individuals with a right to own a gun". Now we need to make the determination of who "those individuals" are . . . Law enforcement, military, ??? Where is the line drawn? So let's completely elliminate guns – don't allow ANYONE to own them. Does that elliminate crime? Would that have prevented this trajedy? Our country might elliminate guns, but will the entire world? Do we elliminate everything that can be used as a weapon? What about explosives, knifes, rocks, baseball bats, etc. WHERE DOES IT STOP????

      It is sad and (pardon me, I am without words to explain) that a 9-year old girl, OR ANYONE, lost their lives that day. Elliminating guns might have prevented the means to that trajedy, but no-one can say that it would have prevented the trajedy from ever happening . . .

      PUNISH THE INDIVIDUAL THAT COMMITS THE CRIME!

      January 10, 2011 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
  23. freetime1

    The military has had lots and lots of head trauma cases to learn on over the last few years. Now more and more people with sever brain trauma are making it because of what they have learned. Thing is many of the people that live would never have wanted to live if they knew how their life would be after. There has been talk of living will for members of our military just because of this. But there was never any movement on it because it was to polarizing an issue. I know if I had half my brain blown out, I would rather just pass, knowing the likely outcome. Others would not care. To bad our military members don't get to decide for themselves.

    January 10, 2011 at 07:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. cozy

    A woman is shot in the head, miraculously shows positive signs of surviving, and people are splitting hairs about the spelling in an article? Perspective folks!

    This seems like the lack of concern that has this country insensitive to common decency. Regardless of political leanings, can we pull together and start caring about others instead of identifying spelling mistakes? A 9 year old child was murdered. You'd think we'd put more energy into understanding than showing how smart we are.

    January 10, 2011 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ML

      Cozy - your double standard impresses me. Last night, a homeless man died from the cold. Last night, a child in Africa died of starvation. This morning, a child stepped on a landmine in the Sudan and lost her leg. You seem to care not a whit about them, but the world must stop for Gabby Giffords and a 9 year old you don't even know the name of.

      At any rate, there is absolutely nothing any of us can do for Ms. Giffords other than pray. We can not allow ourselves to become paralyzed every time something bad happens, otherwise absolutely nothing will ever be done.

      January 10, 2011 at 11:00 | Report abuse |
    • Rune Kodaira

      ML: Bad things happen around the world, but that doesn't mean you can trivialize bad things in America. It IS a tragedy that an American congresswoman will be forced to develop aphasia at best because of a nutjob.

      January 10, 2011 at 15:00 | Report abuse |
  25. Name*Jk

    Lucas, you are one of those people who most regret meeting. Your comment helps no one, at least in the way it was delivered, except your ego. Move along kid. You're bothering all of us.

    January 10, 2011 at 08:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Stephanie

    Wow, I just learned more about this topic than I could imagine. Thank you! I do agree with Jerry though. You should fire your editors. Having edited many written pieces, my guess is the editors placed the headline on there, and they couldn't even get that right. I am trying to find the cnn website editor for Dr Gupta to email her directly. Perhaps it is marycnnhealth.

    January 10, 2011 at 08:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. ad23

    Sad that after all that has happened you can only find spelling errors! Focus on what has taken place a 9 year old child was killed. And spelling is what you comment on? You should be ashamed of yourself. Big shot that hides behind a comment board!

    January 10, 2011 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ML

      A 9 year old was shot (which this article wasn't even about), therefore spelling doesn't count. Makes perfect sense to me. What other things are we not allowed to comment on because a 9 year old was shot?

      While we are at it, could you please fill us in about other rules regarding what we aren't allowed to comment on when something completely unrelated happens? I find these rules perplexing.

      January 10, 2011 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
  28. Kh

    Too bad the poor 9 year old girl didn't get the same small chance.

    January 10, 2011 at 08:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KDW

      What does the 9y/o have to do with this article? She was shot in the chest not the head. So not relevant to the topic at hand. I don't know what the statistics are for surviving the wounds the little girl received. From what I read doctors did everything they could to save her life. Unfortunately they were unable to do so.

      January 10, 2011 at 13:43 | Report abuse |
  29. Emigdio

    The auto-spell function on the Macs are design to discredit news websites.

    January 10, 2011 at 08:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Nitpicky much?

    It trewly amazes me how redickulus peepul can be about littel misteaks in spelling or grammer. While I agree that the ability to communicate utilizing proper English is quickly becoming a lost art, I find it a bit self-centered and pompous when readers feel the need to critique an article online which I assume they were originally intending to read based on the content. I'm not a big fan of Dr. Gupta, but I found the content of this article particularly informative and written in a manner which would have been easily understood by almost anyone who read it. So do us all a favor and save the red ink for your night school literature class. After all, I don't see any of you writing articles for any major media sites, and if you do write articles which are posted online, PLEASE respond with the hyperlink – I would love to visit what must be a utopia of perfect grammar.

    January 10, 2011 at 08:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mikey

      i gratuated frum hi shool ty viry much, i is a smert pirsun

      January 10, 2011 at 09:32 | Report abuse |
    • Snowed in in atl

      The shooter allegedly ranted and raved about literacy prior to enacting his plan. Now we have a bunch of grammarians ranting and raving on here. Coincidence?

      Regardless, While what happened to Rep. Giffords and the others is nothing short of tragic, what I am truly mourning is the complete and utter lack of respect for each other in this country anymore. It's NOT ok to continue extremist rhetoric from either side, gun references, or nuanced violence as a means to achieve political ends.

      January 10, 2011 at 11:41 | Report abuse |
  31. Mike

    Lets just pray for the families of this sad outcome and realilize it could have been a lot worse.

    January 10, 2011 at 08:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Chris D

    Informative and a unique perspective on the story. Thank you.

    January 10, 2011 at 08:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. TX

    I love shooting, but I'm pro-gun control. Most arguments on rights of firearm are lame. At times, we should give up selfish motives, e.g., a pleasurable hobby, for the society. Then, until the law forbids it, I'll continue on with this guilty pleasure LEGALLY while voting for whatever ballots for gun control.

    January 10, 2011 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Texas Dawn

      So you are proudly declaring yourself to be a hypocrite? As in "I don't believe in private gun ownership, but I'm not getting rid of mine until they make me because it is so much fun"? Are you also the type that doesn't believe in drunk driving in principal, but you do it anyway because you haven't killed anyone yet? Pick a side and stay on it.

      January 10, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse |
  34. Sirena

    Thanks for the great explanation. I am praying that she has an amazing recovery and that she keeps going with a huge spotlight on her work now. Also praying for all the victims and families involved in this. Thanks Dr. G!

    January 10, 2011 at 08:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. mb

    Who caers abot freekin speling?? You stoopid peeple r missing da point!!! Six inocent Americans wer murdrd and al u can coment to is the edetors mistakes? A 9 yaer old girl waz kiled by sum stoopid whack job wo waz probably inspird by the likes of Sarah Palinmyazz and there violint rhetorik. Grow the fak up!

    January 10, 2011 at 08:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. JDL

    Wishing her a speedy recovery!

    People, shoe me one instance where gun control actually works..... I'm sure a criminal doesn't care I he is breaking 1 or 100 laws when he is committing a crime. All those of you that push for more gun control laws on top of more gun control laws really need to come to reality and realize they dob't work. And um not sure what the answer u either but making 100 laws to cover what 1 law doesn't do sure isn't the answer.

    January 10, 2011 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JDL

      Obviously I didn't use the spell check on my iPhone while writing this but I'm sure some idiot will post that first thing, probably the one who votes for the 100 on top of 1 gun control laws.

      January 10, 2011 at 08:55 | Report abuse |
  37. Mauricio Herrera

    Excellent description.

    January 10, 2011 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. MA

    God bless the skill and hands of the surgeons.

    January 10, 2011 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. dave

    Hey Lucas, "checked" is spelled with an "ed" not an "ing."

    January 10, 2011 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. waheid

    Too little credit has been given to the EMS/Fire Dept. responders. Had there not been such a quick response, expert on-the-scene care, and expeditious transport to a hospital the MD's would have had little to do other than sign the death certificate. Dr. Gupta is all to quick to credit the E.R. physicians while ignoring the immediate on-the-scene care by EMT's and paramedics. These folks are all too often the unsung heroes of these incidents.

    January 10, 2011 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DesertRat

      True, EMS here are truly excellent. There's also a local report about a doctor and his wife (a nurse) who were at the store and immediately began rendering aid to some of the wounded before the gunman was even brought down.

      January 10, 2011 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
  41. Trevor

    Thanks for the explanation. I really don't care about typos in this case.

    January 10, 2011 at 09:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. STUPID PEOPLE

    FOR YOU FOOLS THAT ARE ON HERE CORRECTING SPELLING ARE STUPID IDIOTS...THERE IS A TRAGEDY AND ALL YOU GOT TO DO IS WORRY ABOUT WHO SPELLED A FREAKING WORD WRONG..SHOWS HOW STUPID YOU ARE...SO ANYWAY I PRAY FOR THE VICTIMS...

    January 10, 2011 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. pavaum

    God will provide a MIRACLE.

    January 10, 2011 at 09:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ty

      People saved here. If she was left to the natural process after an injury like this she would be dead.

      January 10, 2011 at 11:41 | Report abuse |
    • Softship

      If there was a God who was "into" miracles, he could have prevented this tragedy, don't you think?
      I do not PRAY that Ms. Giffords will enjoy a complete recovery, but I certainly HOPE that she does.

      January 10, 2011 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
    • Believenpray

      It's funny how nobody believes in god until there dying or in trouble. Who do you think provided those people the skills the ability to do the things they did. Leaving things in gods hands does not mean leave them there to die and hope god helps. God provided the people that helped her.
      @softship you will find your self praying one day you might deny him now but one day you will realize he is there and even though you deny him now when you need him he will welcome you with open arms.

      January 10, 2011 at 14:42 | Report abuse |
  44. leela

    I might even insert a period after the word "shot" and change the lowercase "w" in the word "was" to an initial cap so that the criticism makes sense. But, really, who cares?

    January 10, 2011 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Mike

    We are told it was a rear entry shot. Is there any information about the exit wound? The damage is usually worse there and as it was at the front I am worried about her face and eyes in particular.

    January 10, 2011 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Dalri

    Spot mkaing fun of poeple fro there spleling, grammar Notzees!

    January 10, 2011 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • chris

      Thanks, all the time wasted over spelling when we should be concerned with the congresswoman.

      January 10, 2011 at 23:19 | Report abuse |
  47. Kathy - Stroke

    I had stroke when I was 35 yr. ago, left side of my brian. So....40 yr. ago I fround I suffer bipoler. Then I take "Zyprexa" from Lilly. Now I can really talk....REALLY.

    I can't talked that phone and my word is not.... and I can TALK!!!

    January 10, 2011 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Robin

    Dr. Guptah,

    Who saved the saved the congresswoman -Dr. Peter Rhee - is as much a compelling story as what saved her.

    Dr Rhee is a reitred Navy surgeon who was one of the first battlefield surgeons to be deployed to Camp Rhino, the first U.S. land base in Afghanistan, located in the remote desert about 100 miles southwest of KandaharRhee said he handled "hundreds and hundreds" of battlefield injuries in two war deployments beginning in 2001.

    I encourage you to read the LA Times story: "A Surgeon Who Trained On The Battlefield"
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-peter-rhee-20110110,0,5943156.story

    January 10, 2011 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. fireybuddha

    she'll make it.

    January 10, 2011 at 09:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. luLYFcas

    @Lucas...You've just terribly shattered the glasshouse you're in. Where do you get the stones?

    My prayers to Mrs. Giffords and to the other wounded, may they'll be able to make it to full recovery.

    And for those unfortunate souls, may they Rest In Peace in our Heavenly Father's kingdom.

    January 10, 2011 at 09:50 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.