In brief: Giffords mending after skull surgery

THURSDAY, MAY 19, 2011

Houston – Doctors repaired Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ skull on Wednesday, the latest milestone in her recovery from an assassination attempt and a procedure experts say will improve her quality of life.

A gunman shot her in the head more than four months ago in Tucson, Ariz., and doctors had to remove a portion of her skull to relieve pressure on her brain.

On Wednesday, they put a plastic implant in place to fully cover her brain, according to a statement from TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital. The hospital planned a briefing for today to give an update on her medical condition.

Giffords is “recovering well after her surgery today,” a hospital statement said.

Giffords’ astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, is orbiting Earth on space shuttle Endeavour and is getting updates on her condition.

Doctors familiar with the procedure and not involved in her care said it was fairly routine, will significantly improve her quality of life and help her feel more normal.

The implant – or bone flap as doctors call it – will protect the brain and the skull. It will allow Giffords to freely move about without her helmet for the first time since she began therapy in late January.

Bound man, 76, rolls to rescue

Houston – A Houston-area man spent two days bound in a blanket before he rolled out of his home and down a 100-foot driveway to be rescued.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that two men have been charged with burglarizing the 76-year-old man’s home. Twenty-seven-year-old Erick Rodrigo Carranza and 18-year-old Junior Alexis Velasquez are charged with aggravated robbery and unlawful restraint.

Carranza is free on $50,000 bond, while Velasquez remains jailed on a $70,000 bond.

Investigators say two men broke into the older man’s house on May 3, bound him, ransacked his place, then returned the next day to dispose of evidence.

Deputies say the victim rolled out a door to the street, where he was rescued.


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