Giffords condition unchanged

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The medical condition of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords is still the same, according to doctors at University Medical Center in Tucson.

But Dr. Peter Rhee says that is "good news".

At a Monday morning medical briefing, the doctors who operated on Giffords for nearly two hours on Saturday report she is still critical and in a medically-induced coma.

She is the only one of the 14 people who survived the Saturday shooting at a northwest side shopping center to still be listed as critical.

Doctors say they continue to periodically reduce her medication to briefly bring her out of the coma and test her ability to communicate with them through requests to squeeze their hand or raise a specific number of fingers.  They report she does respond well to the commands.

Dr. Rhee says her family, including husband Mark Kelly, are at her side "constantly", and are being kept up to date on her condition and treatment.

Dr. Michael Lemone refused to speculate on how long her recovery will take or what her condition will eventually be.  The bullet entered the left rear of her skull and exited through the forehead above her left eye.  In a Sunday briefing, the doctors say the fact the damage was limited to one "hemisphere" of the brain is positive.

Dr. Lemone said his experience is that there is a wide range of eventual results from this type of injury.

Doctors praised the Tucson community for their response to the shootings.  Dr. Lemone said he had the opportunity early Monday to visit the memorial to the victims which has been growing in front of the hospital.  He said he walked out to it with his family and was impressed on how his young children were impacted by the outpouring of support.

UMC said unless there are changes to the conditions of Representative Giffords and the others still hospitalized, the next medical briefing will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.