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"It rekindles the memories": Gabrielle Gifford's doctor weighs in on Pakistani girl shooting

"It rekindles the memories": Gabrielle Gifford's doctor weighs in on Pakistani girl shooting

CREATED Oct 19, 2012

Reporter: Alexis Fernandez

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - 11 days ago, 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban, for taking a stand and demanding girls have the same chance to be educated as boys.

With Pakistan lacking medical facilities needed to treat her, she was put on a plane and flown across Asia and Europe to the U.K. for surgery.

Today, she is already taking amazing strides to recovery. According to the most recent update posted online, Malala is able to stand and communicate. She can't speak yet, but that isn't stopping her from asking questions on paper.

Malala was shot at point-blank range in the head while riding home on a bus in the town of Swat Valley in Central Pakistan.

The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying she was a "symbol of the infidels and obscenity." Their reason for saying that is due to her activism for women's rights, particularly the right to an education.

Almost 8,000 miles back here in Tucson, Dr. Michael Lemole, the neurosurgeon who saved Congresswomen Gabrielle Gifford's life, says this is like a bit of déjà vu.

"It obviously rekindles the memories that we had here in Tucson, not necessarily good, you don't want anyone to go through that but the fact that she seems to be coming through it and doing well, that's a good sign," he said.

Dr. Lemole says because Malala is young, she has an advantage.

"Any kind of recovery process with neurological injury is a long and grueling process and obviously younger people are a little bit more resilient, and so she's got that going for her," he said.

Also going for her, something she shares with Gifford's, communities, countries and people from around the world rooting for a full recovery.