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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' condition upgraded to good

Doctors in Houston say Gabrielle Giffords could be transferred to a rehab facility Wednesday.

January 26, 2011|Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports

Reporting from Houston — Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' condition has been upgraded from serious to good and she could be transferred to a rehabilitation hospital Wednesday morning, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center said.

Giffords' doctors have determined she is ready to move to TIRR Memorial Hermann, where her rehabilitation will begin, Memorial Hermann said late Tuesday. The transfer was scheduled for sometime in the morning after doctors reviewed her condition again.

Giffords, 40, was shot in the forehead Jan. 8 outside an Arizona supermarket in an attack that also killed six people and wounded 12 others.

Giffords was transferred Friday to Texas from University Medical Center in Tucson, where she had been treated since the shooting. Her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, has been training in Houston for a space shuttle mission scheduled for April.

Giffords has been in intensive care since her arrival in Houston. Doctors said she was given a tube to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid. The fluid is something everyone produces, but an injury can cause it to back up, resulting in swelling in the brain.

Earlier Tuesday evening, as President Obama delivered his State of the Union speech, Kelly watched from Giffords' bedside, holding his wife's hand. Most attending the joint session of Congress wore black-and-white lapel ribbons as a tribute to the Tucson shooting victims. The Arizona congressional delegation sat together, leaving an empty seat for Giffords.

Giffords, a Democrat, was shot when a man opened fire on the crowd that had gathered to meet with her outside the supermarket. Jared Lee Loughner, 22, has been charged in the incident.

Kelly said the family had considered a number of rehabilitation facilities throughout the country, all of which could provide excellent care.

"The critical factor in this decision is that it will let me be there by her side as much as possible every single day," he said. "I don't know how long this process is going to take. If I want to address problems with our teenage children, or consider returning to work, it makes the most sense that she is at Memorial Hermann in Houston."

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