16 Jan 2011

US Congresswoman Giffords taken off ventilator

10:03 pm on 16 January 2011

US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords - who was shot in the head by a gunman last week - has been taken off a ventilator.

Hospital officials say doctors inserted a tracheotomy tube in her windpipe to protect her airways, freeing her from the breathing tube.

They also inserted a feeding tube reports the BBC.

Mrs Giffords had been breathing on her own since the shooting in Tucson in Arizona, but the breathing tube had been left until now as a precaution.

Six people died in the shooting, as Mrs Giffords was holding a constituency meeting.

Jared Loughner, 22, has been charged with several offences and could face the death penalty if found guilty.