Rep. Giffords Opened Her Eyes on Sunday, Tucson Newspaper Reported

January 13, 2011 - 10:42 AM

Tucson service-Obama

President Barack Obama speaks at a memorial service for the victims of the Tucson shootings at the University of Arizona on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(CNSNews.com) – At Wednesday’s memorial service in Tucson, President Obama announced that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time since she was shot in the head on Saturday.

But three days earlier, the Tucson Sentinel reported that Giffords had opened her eyes on Sunday:

“Giffords is in a drug-induced coma in intensive care,” the newspaper reported on Jan. 9. “Doctors frequently awaken her to check her responsiveness, and she could open her eyes and respond to simple commands Sunday -- an encouraging sign, said [Dr. Peter] Rhee.”

On Wednesday evening, President Obama told the nation:

I have just come from the University Medical Center, just a mile from here, where our friend Gabby courageously fights to recover even as we speak.  And I want to tell you -- her husband Mark is here and he allows me to share this with you -- right after we went to visit, a few minutes after we left her room and some of her colleagues in Congress were in the room, Gabby opened her eyes for the first time.  (Applause.)  Gabby opened her eyes for the first time.  (Sustained applause.)

Gabby opened her eyes. Gabby opened her eyes, so I can tell you she knows we are here.  She knows we love her.  And she knows that we are rooting for her through what is undoubtedly going to be a difficult journey.  We are there for her.

Some of Giffords’ colleagues were with her after President Obama left the hospital room: "It felt like we were watching a miracle," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) was quoted as telling reporters onboard Air Force One as she described Giffords opening her right eye and trying to focus on her relatives and friends.

The Associated Press said Giffords' left eye is bandaged.

"We knew she could hear and understand what we were saying," Gillibrand told reporters traveling back to Washington with the president Thursday morning.