Feb 9, 2011 3:57 AM

Update on Rep. Giffords from Houston

HOUSTON - One month after a lone gunman shot 16 people in northwest Tucson Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is showing dramatic signs of recovery.

Representative Giffords is undergoing intensive rehabilitation therapy at the Texas Institute of Rehabilitation and Research at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Gerard Francisco can't be specific about Giffords condition but in an exclusive interview with KVOA's John Overall he said, "The congresswoman is doing very well, as a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation there is nothing I can find more gratifying than knowing she is responding very well to the rehabilitation program that our team designed."

When asked if Giffords has struggled at all during the early part of her rehabilitation, Dr. Francisco replied, "Many of the complications that would have happened to anyone with this type of injury, fortunately did not happen. I think we're beyond that window." Dr. Francisco continued by saying, "We're very much encouraged by the progress that she has demonstrated and we're very happy that she's challenging us to come up with a tougher rehabilitation program for her."

Dr. Francisco said he sees Giffords make new advancements everyday, but her family has asked the hospital not to release specific information about her condition. Dr. Francisco says her list of accomplishments would be too long to recite anyway, "Let me just say that she's doing very well overall."

Pia Carusone is Giffords' Chief of Staff, she spends a great deal of time at the hospital checking up on her boss and conducting the business Giffords was elected to perform for the citizens of Arizona's 8th Congressional District.

News4 Tucson has received information that the Congresswoman recently spoke her first words, but Carusone wouldn't confirm that information. Carusone would only say, "The speech therapy is ongoing and she's certainly doing very well."

Dr. Francisco also declined to speak about that topic, "I don't think I'll be able to do that, that's something that's very special and I don't want to steal the family's thunder. When they want to talk more about the details of her recovery, I will leave it to them."

Doctors at TIRR are using words like remarkable and lightning-quick to describe Giffords' recovery, but they are quick to remind us that those terms are relative. "Patience, patience, patience, is really needed," said Dr. Francisco. "She's doing very well, we still have a long way to go, but she's a hard worker so I'm pretty sure her recovery will be phenomenal."


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