Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is expected to begin the next phase of her recovery at a rehab center right here in Houston. Giffords’ family is moving her to TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital located in the Medical Center near Ben Taub Hospital.  Her husband, Mark Kelly, lives here in Houston and works as an astronaut.

“One of the nation’s busiest trauma centers, Memorial Hermann frequently treats victims of penetrating and blunt trauma to the brain,” said President and CEO Dan Wolterman. “Our rehabilitation hospital, TIRR Memorial Hermann, has a well-deserved reputation for excellence in the treatment of traumatic brain injury as well as diseases and disorders of the brain and spinal cord.”

Giffords still remains in serious condition but her recovery has amazed her family and impressed her doctors.  Her progress was clear on Wednesday as she stood on her feet with assistance from medical staff.   It is still unknown if she will be able to speak or how well she can see. She is moving both arms and legs but the extent of her injuries and long-term prognosis won’t be known for some time.

Kelly still remains extremely optimistic and believes his wife has made attempts to speak. “She will pat me on the face, I can look in her eyes and tell,” Kelly said. “She’s well aware of who is around her, very aware of the situation.”

A gunman shot Giffords and 18 other people Jan. 8 as she met with constituents outside a grocery store in Tucson. Six people died and 12 were left wounded.

The suspect in the attack, Jared Loughner, 22, of Tucson, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Phoenix Wednesday, accused of attempting to assassinate Giffords and trying to kill two of her aides. Not included are the two murder charges listed in an earlier criminal complaint for the deaths of Giffords aide Gabe Zimmerman, 30, and U.S. District Judge John Roll, 63. Those are potential death penalty charges and prosecutors said they require a more painstaking process. It’s likely there will be additional charges.  Loughner is in federal custody. He is set for a preliminary hearing on Monday in Phoenix.

“I am extremely hopeful that Gaby is going to make a full recovery,” Kelly said at a press conference Thursday. “She’s a strong person, a fighter like nobody else that I know. I am extremely confident that she’s going to be back here and back at work soon.”

“Like so many others across the country, we have watched Congresswoman Giffords’ progress with great interest,” Wolterman said. “We are honored that her family and medical team have entrusted her ongoing care to Memorial Hermann.”

During rehabilitation at TIRR, Giffords will have to relearn how to think and plan and there’s no doubt that Giffords will be in good hands. TIRR  has earned distinction as one of the nation’s top hospitals in U.S.News & World Report’s “America’s Best Hospitals” issue.


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