GABRIELLE GIFFORDS MIRACLE

Published on: January 13, 2011
GABRIELLE GIFFORDS MIRACLE

Doctors stunned as gravely wounded REP. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS sat up in bed, and moved her legs on command.

The "major milestone" came on the heels of Giffords opening her eyes yesterday since being shot in the head in a crazed gunman's assassination attempt.

"We're wise to acknowledge miracles," her doctor neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Lemole said.

Giffords is also able to freely move her limbs, dangle both limbs off the bed.

She is also responding to friends and family,  doctors said.

Giffords' "miracle" awakening yesterday came as she heard the voices of her close pals New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, as they visited her late yesterday.

The emotional moment turned joyous as Giffords -- her one eye swathed in bandages and part of her skull removed to allow for swelling -- heard them speaking with her husband, Mark Kelly.

Giffords then opened her unbandaged eye and reached out to her astronaut husband.

"It was unbelievable," Gillibrand said. "She reaches out and starts grabbing Mark and is touching him and starts to nearly choke him -- she was clearly trying to hug him."

Gabrielle clutched, touching his wrist, watch, and ring.

"It was such a moment," Gillibrand said. "And we were just in tears of joy watching this and beyond ourselves, honestly. The doctor was just so excited.

"He said, 'You don't understand, this IS amazing, what's she's doing right now, and beyond our greatest hopes.'"

The next big step will be removing the breathing tube, and attempt Giffords to sit in a chair on Friday, Dr. Peter Rhee, trauma chief at University Medical Center in Arizona told media.