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Gabrielle Giffords to be moved to rehab facility

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, wounded in the Tucson shootings, is improving and will next spend time at a Houston rehabilitation center. She will receive physical, occupational and speech therapy.

January 20, 2011|By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times

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 Wednesday by her family.

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 but also the quality of care she has received.

Giffords was wounded the morning of Jan. 8 in the Tucson shooting rampage in which six people were killed.

Her doctors at University Medical Center in Tucson this week attributed her amazing recovery, in part, to "a miracle." By some estimates, fewer than 5% 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 one of the most highly rated recovery centers in the country.

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

At the rehabilitation center, 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 after 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 E. 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."

thomas.maugh@latimes.com

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