Giffords released from Houston hospital

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by Jared Dillingham and the Associated Press

Bio | Email | Follow: @JaredDillingham

azfamily.com

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 15 at 9:08 PM

HOUSTON (AP) -- Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has been released from a Houston hospital, five months after being shot in the head during a Tucson political event.

A release from TIRR Memorial Hermann where Giffords has been undergoing rehab says the congresswoman is moving to her husband's home in League City 26 miles south of Houston.

Mark Kelly says it's been a challenge for his wife to live and recover at the hospital, and being home with family will help her rehabilitation.

Giffords arrived in Houston just weeks after being shot on Jan. 8 while she was at a meet-and-greet with constituents in her home district of Tucson. Six people were killed and a dozen others wounded in the attack outside a supermarket.

While Giffords' release from the hospital after five months of intensive inpatient therapy will mark an important step in her recovery, she still must undergo months of outpatient rehabilitation that will include speech, occupational and physical therapy.

Doctors treating the Arizona congresswoman say her cognitive abilities and physical strength have improved to the point where she no longer needs to remain a patient in the hospital.

“Congresswoman Giffords has shown clear, continuous improvement from the moment she arrived at TIRR five months ago,” said Dr. Gerard Francisco, the hospital’s chief medical officer. “We are very excited that she has reached the next phase of her rehabilitation and can begin outpatient treatment. We have no doubt that she will continue to make significant strides in her recovery.”

Within days of the shooting, Giffords was moving both arms and legs, as well as responding to family and friends. Since arriving in Houston, she has regained some ability to walk and talk.

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