Giffords to move to rehab facility today

HOUSTON — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will be moved to a rehabilitation facility Wednesday morning after doctors upgraded her condition from serious to good, according to the hospital overseeing the Arizona congresswoman’s recovery.

Her doctors at Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center Hospi

tal determined that she is ready to move to TIRR Memorial Hermann, another facility where her rehabilitation will begin. That transfer was scheduled for sometime Wednesday morning, pending a review of her condition, according to a statement posted Tuesday night on the hospital’s website.

Giffords had been kept in intensive care since her arrival Friday at the Houston hospital from Tucson, where she had been hospitalized since the Jan. 8 shooting. Doctors in Texas said she had been given a tube to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid.

Everyone makes such fluid, but an injury can cause the fluid to not be cleared away as rapidly as normal. A backup can cause pressure and swelling within the brain.

Giffords was critically wounded in the rampage that killed six people and injured 12 others. The three-term Democratic congresswoman was shot in the forehead while meeting with constituents outside a Tucson supermarket.

The assassination attempt cast a somber mood over President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, where many lawmakers in both parties wore black-and-white lapel ribbons to signify the deaths and the hopes of the survivors. Giffords’ husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, watched the speech from her bedside in Texas, as he held her hand.

The 22-year-old suspect in the shootings, Jared Loughner, pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges of trying to assassinate the congresswoman and two of her aides. He also faces federal murder charges in the deaths of a federal judge and a Giffords aide, and more charges were expected.

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