Giffords to be in experienced hands for rehabilitation
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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is in the Intensive Care Unit of Memorial Hermann Hospital, but sometime soon, she'll transfer to the hospital's rehabilitation center.
There, a team of doctors will help her recover from the gunshot wound that almost killed her.
She's already undergoing some rehabilitation in ICU, going as far as to lift her leg and stand with assistance.
YNN's John Salazar spoke to doctors and patients who have firsthand experience of the hard work that goes into healing the mind and body after any severe accident.
Lex Frieden is more than a patient at the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research. He is the Director of the Independent Utilization Living Research at TIRR. Frieden knows the type of care Rep. Giffords will receive once she becomes a patient there. He was severely injured in an automobile crash in 1967.
"When I arrived here I was expecting to be cared for well, and my expectations were exceeded," Frieden said.
Frieden said TIRR provides a rigorous program combined with a healthy dose of compassion from staffers, along with a highly qualified medical staff.
Dr. Gerard Francisco, the Chief Medical Officer at TIRR, is wasting no time tending to his newest patient. He and members of his staff have started a moderate rehabilitation program with Giffords over in ICU. She was allowed to stand with less help than expected.
He was surprised by her recovery so far.
"She did not need as much assistance as anticipated," Francisco said. "There were still people holding on to her as described previously, but she is activating her muscles even more than I had anticipated."
Giffords was able to raise her left leg slightly, a great sign the right side of the brain is sending signals to that half of the body, but Dr. Francisco describes what he calls "deficits of movement" on the right side of Giffords' body. She was shot in the left side of the brain, which controls movement to the right side of the body.
For now, Rep. Giffords remains in ICU where neurosurgeons are dealing with a fluid buildup inside her brain. Once she is removed from ICU, she will be moved to the rehabilitation center.
Giffords was shot Jan. 8 when police say 22-year-old Jared Loughner opened fire while the congresswoman was attending a meet-and-greet event with constituents.