Giffords moved to Texas hospital


Gabrielle Giffords is loaded onto a plane in Tucson, Arizona, as she is transferred to a rehabilitation center in Texas (AP)

US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been placed in intensive care at the Texas Medical Centre after being moved there from a hospital in Tucson, Arizona.

Doctors are planning to start her therapy for a bullet wound to the brain immediately, and she will be sent to the centre’s rehabilitation hospital, TIRR Memorial Hermann, after several days of evaluation.

Dr Gerardo Francisco, chief medical officer at Memorial Hermann, said Ms Giffords, 40, had “great rehabilitation potential”, and added: “She will keep us busy, and we will keep her busy as well.”

The extent of the congresswoman’s injuries and the impact on her ability to move and communicate have not yet been determined.

On Friday, the convoy of vehicles carrying Ms Giffords swept past cheering crowds as she left the hospital in Tucson, where she stunned doctors with her recovery after being shot in the head two weeks ago.

Dr Randall Friese, a surgeon at the University Medical Centre trauma centre, said: “It was very emotional and very special.”

A gunman shot Ms Giffords and 18 other people on January 8 as she met with constituents outside a grocery store in Tucson. Six people died.

The suspect in the attack, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, is being held in federal custody.

Doctors said Ms Giffords will remain in the intensive care unit while a build-up of fluid is drained from her brain.

Ms Giffords will stay at Memorial Hermann until she no longer needs 24-hour medical care – with the average time being one to two months.

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