Giffords Making "Leaps and Bounds" in Rehab, Has Been Told She Was Shot

Congresswoman Giffords is still undergoing therapy at TIRR Memorial Hermann to relearn basic functions like walking and talking. She started speaking in single words last month. Now doctors say she’s stringing words together to make complete sentences.

“For example, she says, ‘I’m tired. I want to go to bed.’ Just like that.”

Dr. Dong Kim is one of her doctors and says Giffords is showing signs of significant improvements in her ability to speak.

“She can repeat anything we say to her. Now that’s an important neurological recovery fact because what that means is that her whole primary language areas are intact.”

Her doctors say she is recovering faster than anticipated. They say she laughs often and is generally upbeat. It was the medical team’s first update on the congresswoman’s condition since she was transferred to TIRR six weeks ago. Dr. Kim says with help, Giffords is able to walk now. He says she’s getting stronger every day.


Dr Gerard Francisco, Dr Dong Kim, Dr Imoigele Aisiku
From left to right: Dr Gerard Francisco, Dr Dong Kim, and Dr Imoigele Aisiku

“Given that she’s already standing and walking, it points to how much strength she has regained.” Dr. Kim says Giffords has no memory of the rampage in Tucson, but was recently given the news that she was shot.

“She has been told, both by her husband and by us. And I think she understands. And obviously she needs to know so that has been part of the process.”

Dr. Kim says it doesn’t look like Giffords will have any memory problems, apart from this one event. Her doctors say there’s a good chance Giffords will be able to go to Florida for her astronaut husband’s shuttle launch next month. Dr. Gerard Francisco is the chief medical officer at TIRR.

“Our number one concern is that it will be safe and appropriate for her to do that.”

Giffords was shot in the head last January during a meet and greet with constituents at a Tucson shopping center.

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