Health & Science

Giffords Upgraded To "Good," Moves to TIRR

Doctors upgraded the condition of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords today from serious to good. She was moved this morning to a rehabilitation hospital in the Texas Medical Center. KUHF health science and technology reporter Carrie Feibel has more.


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Giffords spent her first five days in Houston in the intensive care unit at Memorial Hermann Hospital. When she arrived, she had a temporary drain because spinal fluid had built up around her brain. But that condition has eased.

Dr. Dong Kim with UT-Health says he was finally able to take out the drain. That cleared the way to move Giffords over to the Institute for Rehabilitaiton and Research, or TIRR.

“I was able to remove it on Monday. And we’ve been following that and everything has been very stable so far. So I think there’s a very good chance that she’s not going to need a shunt, which is a permanent version of that sort of drain. And something that we’ll be following along with her while she’s in rehab.”

Giffords has a private room at TIRR. Her husband Mark Kelly can stay with her in the room.

Dr. Gerard Francisco is TIRR’s chief medical officer. He says therapists have already begun stretching Giffords’ muscles and helping her sit and stand.

“She interacting very well with the therapists. She’s doing a lot of the activities we’re asking her to do during the therapies.”

Giffords can breathe and swallow on her own. But she still has a tracheotomy tube in her throat, so she can’t speak. Still, therapists have continued language rehabilitation using gestures and requests.

From the KUHF Health Science and Technology Desk, I’m Carrie Feibel.

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