Giffords to be flown to Houston rehabilitation hospital Friday
Giffords, 40, was one of 19 people shot January 8 at a political event outside a Tucson grocery store. Six of the 19 died; Giffords is the only victim still hospitalized.
January 20th, 2011
07:42 PM ET

Giffords to be flown to Houston rehabilitation hospital Friday

Accompanied by a veterans' motorcycle escort, Arizona U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords will be taken Friday from a Tucson hospital to a nearby Air Force base for a flight to Texas and the beginning of her extended recovery, according to the congresswoman's office.

Giffords, thus far, has made a remarkable recovery after being shot through the brain in a January 8 assassination attempt in Tucson, but doctors said she will require further rehabilitation.

According to her office, Giffords will leave Tucson's University Medical Center around 9:15 a.m. She will be taken in an ambulance to nearby Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for the flight to Houston.

The congresswoman rode with Veterans of Foreign Wars riders in May 2009, when they escorted the remains of Civil War-era veterans from Tucson to Sierra Vista. VFW riders will accompany her ambulance on Friday.

The Air Force will transport Giffords on a Challenger aircraft to Houston's William P. Hobby Airport, arriving around 1:15 p.m, the office said. A helicopter will take her to TIRR Memorial Hermann, a rehabilitation hospital.

Accompanying Giffords on the flight from Tucson will be:

- Mark Kelly, her husband
- Dr. Peter Rhee, her UMC trauma surgeon
- Tracy Culbert, one of her nurses in University Medical Center's intensive care unit
- Gloria Giffords, her mother
- Pia Carusone, her chief of staff
- C.J. Karamargin, her communications director

Kelly on Thursday said Giffords' family looked at several different rehabilitation facilities and liked TIRR Memorial Hermann, part of the Texas Medical Center, for several reasons. Among them: The medical team there specializes in penetrating head injuries like the one Giffords has suffered, and it is relatively close to Tucson.

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Filed under: Arizona • Gabrielle Giffords • Politics • Texas
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Harry Calahan


    January 20, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. U.S. Citizen

    I'm glad she's doing well. I wonder who's paying her medical bills. Does she have socialized medicine?

    January 20, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • ed denoy

      Your comment about socialized medicine shows you are callous and insincere.We need a national health care system and the right wing rich have always oppossed it.The only "advanced nation" in the world that does not have it is the USA.But guns ? We have them like cornflakes and milk. Pray for Gaby and pray for the soul of our nation.

      January 20, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • EddV

      Like many Americans, she has health insurance through her employer.

      January 21, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. Katie

    It's a shame she has to go to another state, but if Houston has better care, then I guess it makes sense, at least her husband and mom will be with her.

    January 20, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Show-Me

    I, too, am very glad that Rep. Giffords' recovery is going well, and continue to wish her and her family all the best. On a side note...there is really a simple fix to healthcare in this country – just give all citizens access to the same plan/benefits that Congress has. End of discussion.

    January 20, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. colby

    My grandfather went to the same rehab center in 2001 after a car accident in Central Texas. He was at TIRR for a couple of months. Other than a few limps here and there, he is a completely fine. However, that was after a gruesome physical and mental rehabilitation regimen. I really hope the same can be said for Mrs. Giffords. She will be a true inspiration, but even more so if she can come back %100. I hope Laughner hangs.

    January 20, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tom

    TIRR is a very center for rehab medicine. I wish Rep. Giffords a speedy recovery.

    January 20, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. J. B.

    I don't think it's a good idea to give out all the details about Congresswoman Giffords'
    transfer for rehabilation....

    January 20, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • justin

      I agree with all the crazy idiots these days.

      January 21, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  8. Chi

    is it just me or is this just way too much easy information for someone bad to obtain...

    January 20, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Becky

      This is way too much information for anyone to know. Leave the woman alone. We don't even have a choice whether or not to listen or read about her every single move or detail of her recovery. It is headline news, in our face every waking minute - why is it headline news? She wasn't the only one hurt, she wasn't killed, she isn't the only one recovering, and she isn't a hero. Let her heal in peace. She must be grieving, as well. A little girl who looked up to her and a colleague died in that incident that was supposed to take her life. I'm sure she hasn't forgotten that, but it appears the media has. It is ridiculous how the press is following her every step like this.

      January 27, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. arch

    Why is her family making the decisions? Kelly is the one married to her. The hospital might be great, but I would think the main reason would be that is where Kelly works and has his total family. From all that has been said by the doctors she seems to have escaped the worse from this shooting. No shooting is good, but I feel God was watching over her that day. May she have a speed recovery with (hopefully) total recovery. Also, may all the other victims have speedy recoveries both physical and mental. God rest the souls of the ones that died.

    January 20, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • BobinCO

      There is a really good chance that one of the reasons they choose Houston, was because her husband Kelly is an astronaut, and they typically are based out of the Houston Space Center.

      January 21, 2011 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  10. TX

    Well that's because it's not true 😉 The actual details of her transportation won't be revealed, but the media would like us to believe the above plans so Americans can feel clued in regarding her recovery. TIRR is a great center, and she's in good hands.

    January 20, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. kww

    I'm glad she's getting out of Arizona for her rehabilitation. Governor Brewer might decide she's ineligible for treatment !

    January 20, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Wyothinker

    It is fortunate that she most likely has both primary and seconday health insurance - insurance as a member of the House and as a military dependent. Its tragic to think that if the Republicans had their way we would return to a non-system of health care in which 40M would have no insurance.

    January 21, 2011 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. bwcw

    Hass Giffords skull been put back together? At first they remove a part of skull to relieve pressure. Has it been put back in place?

    January 21, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. Gma

    Giffords brain will be protected with a helmit.

    January 21, 2011 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. Alton

    As one conser tweeter observed, "it is harsh reality that IF one can't afford Class A health technology, then to settle for
    a more modest Class B,C, or even D is the American way. Why should I be forced to pay for the less fortunate. Moreover, I have nothing but disgust with those attempting to create class warfare".

    January 21, 2011 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |