The news that Gabby Giffords will survive, is fantastic today! But her doctors say she may still have brain damage. HollywoodLife.com talked to two top neurologists for answers about her future.
The family, friends and all of America received wonderful news just a few minutes ago when Dr.Peter Rhee, who is treating Congresswoman Giffords, at the University of Arizona Medical Center, told reporters that she was “100 percent likely to survive”. However, he still remains uncertain as to whether she will have a 100 per cent recovery of all her skills.
“I think she’s going to make a fair amount of recovery. What kind of deficits she’ll have in the future, I really can’t say at this point, but I am still very optimistic”, he told reporters.
What are the problems she could face? “It will depend on whether the bullet went through any critical areas on the left side of her brain, the language center or the area that controls movement on the right side of the body,” explains Dr. Dexter Sun, a neurologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Cornell University Weill Medical College.” If the bullet didn’t hit these areas then the effect could be minimal. But even if the bullet hit her language center, it will be difficult to asses until she’s no longer sedated or inubated using a breathing tube. She can’t undergo tests until then“, says Dr.Dexter.
Once Congresswoman Giffords is conscious, specialists will test her ability to understand language – both simple and sophisticated as well as to write and speak.
Unfortunately, if Giffords has sustained serious brain damage to the language center, she may not be able to regain her abilities, even with language therapy.
She may also suffer from weakness on her right side, and may require extensive physical therapy, says Dr.Sun. But it is too early to assess that.
“Nevertheless, it’s encouraging especially because Giffords has been communicative already. “The quicker people recover, the better the results usually are”, reports Dr.Sun.
It’s not surprising that Congresswoman Giffords’ doctors have been cautious about being too optimistic about her chances of a full recovery.
“She had a very devastating wound to the brain, she’s suffering the direct effect of the bullet killing brain cells and secondly her brain is affected by swelling. Swelling alone can injure parts of the brain that were not affected by the initial gun blast, adds Dr Philip Stiegs, Professor and Chairman of the Dept of Neurosurgery at Weill Cornell Medical Center. “Her neurological picture today is not what it will be in several weeks.”
Well, Hollywoodlifers, let’s all hope and pray Gabrielle continues to defy the odds and fully recovers her health and all capacities.