Just days after being shot in the head, doctors say Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is breathing on her own.

Dr. Michael LeMole, chief of neurosurgery at University Medical Center in Tucson, said Tuesday during a press conference that doctors have left a breathing tube in Giffords to protect her airway, but the congresswoman is drawing breaths on her own. She’s alert and responding to doctors.

“I’m happy to say that she’s holding her own, her status is the same as it was yesterday; she’s still following those simple commands,” LeMole said. “We’ve been able to back off on some of that sedation and, in fact, she’s able to generate her own breaths; she’s breathing on her own. In fact, the only reason we keep that breathing tube in is to protect her airway so that she doesn’t have complications like pneumonia.”

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