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'Newsweek' Offers A More 'Measured' View Of Rep. Giffords' Recovery

For those looking for an update on the condition of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as she continues to recover from the gunshot wound to the head she suffered on Jan. 8, Newsweek and The Daily Beast report that while her progress has made for "an ongoing good-news story," there's reason to be cautious:

"Interviews — with Giffords staffers and friends who've visited her, doctors in Arizona and Houston who have treated her, and her husband, Mark — suggest that a more measured assessment of her progress is warranted."

The story includes a lot of background and detail that those familiar with the details of the shooting rampage that left six people dead and 13 others (including Giffords) wounded will already know. But it also offers this caution from Michael McNulty, a Giffords friend and chairman of her last campaign:

"It does seem to me, trying to be objective, that the reports of her recovery are so cheery and optimistic that people are going to have this expectation that it won't be another 18 months before they see her. ... They're going to want Gabby to show up in front of the cameras sometime. I don't know when that is."

And her doctors say that when they speak about Giffords progress with phrases such as "leaps and bounds," they are thinking like physicians, not lay people:

"Some people will expect changes to be big," Dr. Gerard Francisco, the physiatrist on Giffords' medical team tells Newsweek. "I'm happy with small changes, as long as I see these changes every day, and that's why I'm very encouraged. Some people would like things to get better within an hour, within a day, within a week. Rehab is not measured that way. It is a long-term process."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.