A sign of progress
Another milestone: Gabrielle Giffords leaves TIRR for husband's League City home
Just over five months after being admitted to TIRR Memorial Hermann, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has been discharged and will receive outpatient care.
Since Giffords' trip to Florida to watch her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, launch into space on the space shuttle Endeavour last month, TIRR doctors have been vague but optimistic about her imminent release from inpatient care. Now doctors say her cognitive abilities and physical strength have improved to the point where she no longer needs to remain a full-time patient at TIRR.
“Anyone who knows Gabby knows that she loves being outside,” Kelly said in a statement. “Living and working in a rehab facility for five months straight has been especially challenging for her. She will still go to TIRR each day but from now on, when she finishes rehab, she will be with her family."
Giffords has moved to Kelly's League City home, where she will continue the same intensive therapy program, according to a statement from Memorial Hermann. Her care will continue to be supervised by Dr. Gerard Francisco, TIRR's chief medical officer, and performed by the same rehab team she has been working with at the hospital. She will also have a health provider with her at home 24 hours a day.
"Congresswoman Giffords has shown clear, continuous improvement from the moment she arrived at TIRR five months ago,” said Dr. Francisco in a statement. “We are very excited that she has reached the next phase of her rehabilitation and can begin outpatient treatment. We have no doubt that she will continue to make significant strides in her recovery."
Giffords, who was shot in the head on Jan. 8 in Tucson, was transferred to TIRR on Jan. 19 after receiving emergency treatment in Arizona and following a brief stay in intensive care at Memorial Hermann in Houston.
Giffords recently released the first photos of herself after the shooting, and though her congressional chief of state has released details of her difficulties communicating, TIRR doctors continue to say her improvement has been one of the most amazing cases they have seen.