Giffords able to communicate

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Twenty-four hours after being shot in the head at a meet-and-greet in Tucson, U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is able to communicate with doctors by following simple commands.

Following the shooting, the congresswoman was airlifted to UMC and immediately went into surgery.

Early reports gave contradicting information on her condition, with several outlets even wrongly reporting her death.

UMC officials called a 2 P.M. news conference.

Everyone held their breath after Trauma Director Dr. Peter Rhee at University Medical Center said a patient had died.  Everyone wanted to know if congresswoman giffords was still alive.

"The congresswoman is not deceaseed," said Dr. Rhee.

Its a miracle of sorts, after being shot point blank just hours earlier.

"She was shot through and through on one side of the head, went through her brain," said Rhee.

Giffords survived a complicated emergency surgery. Doctors at UMC say by 2 P.M. she had been moved to the intensive care unit.

"She's in critical condition.  The neurosurgeons have finished operating on her," said Rhee.

Doctors said the first 24 hours after surgery would be critical and indicative of what recovery will look like.

"We cannot tell what kind of recovery, but i'm about as opitimstic as uc an get in that sitaution," said Rhee.

News of gabrielle giffords survival came as relief to the folks who gathered at the hospital saturday afternoon.

"I'm glad that I came here to fidn out firsthand from the surgeon as to what her status is because I'm feeling a little better," said former State Senator George Cunningham.

"I'm very pelased to hear the doctors report that she is still alive and fighting for her life," said Mayor Bob Walkup.

"Gabby I think is going to be OK," said Cunningham.

Unfortunately, others weren't so lucky.  Doctors say one 9-year-old child died as a result of her injuries.