Gabby Giffords helps put trauma care in the national spotlight

By Sonu Wasu - email

The UMC doctor who was one of the first to treat Congresswoman Gabby Giffords after the mass shooting said treating Giffords had a huge impact on his life.

It helped launch a national discussion on the importance of Trauma Care, and the people who work behind the scenes to provide it.

Dr. Peter Rhee, the Chief of Trauma at Tucson's University Medical Center said he had just visited the White House to educate lawmakers about trauma care.

"The fact that this has given me the opportunity to educate people is good for me," said Rhee.

He said he was not surprised to hear about the remarkable progress Giffords was making in Houston.

"She is starting to talk, starting to put words together, move on her own.  Things are looking very good," said Dr. Rhee.

Staff who work for Gabby Giffords say she does not remember much of what happened on January 8th.

"The only thing she knows is that she's been shot.  She does not remember what happened," said shooting survivor Ron Barber, who also worked with Gabby Giffords in her congressional office in Tucson.

Doctors said despite the good news about her progress, they were optimistically cautious.  It would take a full year to really see how she was progressing.

"Lets just hope it continues like this, but if it slows down I wouldn't be disappointed at all either, " said Dr. Rhee.

Barber said he didn't expect any less from Giffords.  He described her as a woman who always set the bar high for her staffers, and for herself.

Barber was hopeful that Giffords would make it to her husband, Astronaut Mark Kelly's shuttle launch next month.

"She supports her husband in every way.  She wanted him to continue on this mission.  She'll be there.  I'm confident she'll be there, and I'm looking forward to going myself, if my doctors release me to fly," said Barber.