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McClatchy Newspapers, Published January 19 2011

Giffords to be moved to rehab facility in Houston

LOS ANGELES — U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' recovery is proceeding so well that she will be moved to a rehabilitation facility in Houston, possibly as early as Friday, according to a statement released by her family Wednesday.

Such a move less than two weeks after a bullet passed through one hemisphere of her brain represents a remarkable achievement that reflects not only the speed with which Giffords was brought to the hospital and into the operating room following the Jan. 8 shooting but also the quality of the care she received. Giffords, D-Ariz., was wounded in the Tucson shooting rampage in which six people died.

Her doctors earlier this week also attributed her amazing recovery, in part, to "a miracle." By some estimates, fewer than 5 percent of patients who receive a penetrating bullet wound to the brain survive.

Her medical team hopes to move her Friday to the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research at Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston, which is not only one of the most highly rated recovery centers in the U.S. but also is convenient to her home in Tucson.

But because her situation is fluid, the exact day of the move will depend on her health.

At the hospital, she will work with physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists. Her stay could last from several weeks to several months, depending on the severity of her impairment. The therapy most likely will continue at home when she leaves the facility.

"I am extremely hopeful at the signs of recovery that my wife has made since the shooting," said her husband, Mark Kelly. "The team of doctors and nurses at UMC has stabilized her to the point of being ready to move to the rehabilitation phase. Their goal — and our goal — has been to provide Gabby with the best care possible. It is for that reason that we have chosen to have her undergo rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial Hermann, which has a national reputation for treating serious penetrating brain injuries and is also in a community where I have family and a strong support network."


Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.