March 11, 2011 in Nation/World

Giffords’ recovery progressing

Ramit Plushnick-Masti Associated Press
 

HOUSTON – Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ doctors today will give their first public update on the Congresswoman’s recovery since she began intensive rehabilitation after being shot in the head.

Although doctors – constrained by confidentiality laws – have been tight-lipped about her progress, friends and family have provided tidbits of information since she was moved to TIRR Memorial Hermann on Jan. 26.

Now, they are so encouraged by her progress, they are making plans for her to attend her husband’s space shuttle mission next month in Florida, a person close to the family told the Associated Press on Thursday.

Giffords was shot in the head Jan. 8 at a political event outside a grocery store in an attack that killed six people and wounded 12 others.

In recent weeks, family and friends have expressed optimism that Giffords will be able to attend the launch in April, when her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, will command the Endeavour’s last flight.

The media and general public also speculated, watching in awe and hoping Giffords would beat the odds of her devastating head injury and recover quickly enough to watch her husband rocket into space.

Doctors, however, have been cautious, calling her attendance a goal, but tempering the optimism with key medical considerations.

Dr. Gerard Francisco, the head of the team of doctors overseeing Giffords’ rehabilitation, said last month a decision would be based on how independent her movement is, how much assistance is available to her and whether she could handle the hubbub of an airport.

Kelly has been training for the mission in Houston, while his identical twin brother, Scott, is the current leader of the International Space Center crew.

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