U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is in fact headed to a Houston rehabilitation hospital to continue her recovery from a gunshot wound in her head following a bloodbath in Tucson Jan. 8.
Unless there are any unexpected medical problems, Giffords will be transferred Friday to the TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital in Houston, her family announced Wednesday. It remains to be seen how difficult her recovery will be as a result of the damage her brain sustained when she was shot through the head.
Giffords’ husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, lives in Houston but has been by her side at the Arizona hospital where she is now. He put out statement about Giffords’ condition.
“I am extremely hopeful at the signs of recovery that my wife has made since the shooting,” Kelly said. “The team of doctors and nurses at UMC (University Medical Center in Tucson) has stabilized her to the point of being able to move to the rehabilitation phase.”
TIRR Memorial is affiliated with the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, and has 116 beds, according to the Associated Press. AP noted that Buffalo Bills’ tight end Kevin Everett, who was paralyzed from the waist down after sustaining a spinal injury, came to the rehab facility in September 2007 and can now walk.
Giffords has been improving daily since being shot through the head while meeting with constituents outside a Safeway store in Tucson, squeezing her husband’s hand and even giving him a back rub. Six people were killed and 14 hurt during the rampage where Giffords was shot by the gunman.
Astronaut Kelly has been assigned to command NASA’s space shuttle flight in April. But it’s not known now whether Kelly will still lead that mission. He has more important business at home.