Gabrielle Giffords Undergoing ‘Aggressive’ Physical Therapy, Doing ‘Extremely well’

January 14, 2011 Updated: January 16, 2011

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and three other patients are improving and doing "extremely well," as Giffords undergoes "aggressive" physical therapy, doctors at Tucson's University Medical Center (UMC) said on Thursday and Friday.

After 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner allegedly killed 6 and injured 14 people at a Safeway store in a suburb of Tucson, Ariz. on Jan. 8, eleven were sent to the UMC to receive treatment.

Dr. Peter Rhee, medical director of UMC’s Trauma and Critical Care, said that of the 11 patients, four remain in the hospital. Giffords remains in critical condition, while three other patients are in good condition.

“Everybody is doing extremely well and progressing forward,” Dr. Rhee said in a UMC press release.

Dr. G. Michael Lemole Jr., a neurosurgeon and section chief of neurosurgery at the University of Arizona’s Department of Surgery, said the Democratic congresswoman is showing many signs of improvement, including opening her eyes more often than before.

Additionally, doctors said that Giffords was undergoing "aggressive physical therapy" as part of her recovery.

“We can even think that she is beginning to carry out more complex sequences of activity in response to our commands or even spontaneously,” Lemole said. “We couldn’t have hoped for any better improvement than we’re seeing now given the severity of her injury initially.”

Giffords, 40, was shot in the head, but the bullets did not hit critical parts of the brain.

She underwent a successful surgery on Saturday, Jan. 8, to temporarily remove part of her skull while the brain swelling subsides.

Her family has been staying by her side throughout her recovery. President Barack Obama visited her on Wednesday before attending an evening ceremony at the University of Arizona honoring the victims of the shooting.

The suspect, Loughner, is being held without bail as he awaits trial on federal charges, including making an assassination attempt on a Congressional member and killing an employee of the federal government