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US Government

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Released from Hospital

June 16, 2011 by Brett Wilkins in Congress with 0 Comments

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was released from a Houston, Texas hospital yesterday, more than five months after she was critically wounded during a Tucson, Arizona shooting rampage that left six people dead and 13 more wounded.

According to the Associated Press, Giffords has moved into the League City, Texas home of her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly.

Rep. Giffords has made sufficient progress in her recovery that she no longer needs to remain at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital. The gunshot wound to her head severely damaged the left side of her brain, which is responsible for speech and communication, and she still struggles to speak and walk. The 41-year-old continues to undergo intensive therapy and will probably do so for months– if not years– to come.

It is not known whether she will be able to resume her congressional duties.

Still, the fact that she’s out of the hospital is very good news.

“Anyone who knows Gabby knows that she loves being outside,” Kelly said. “Living and working in a rehab facility for five months straight has been especially challenging for her.”

Giffords was well enough to attend Kelly’s May launch of the space shuttle Endeavour, its final mission. While her husband was orbiting the earth aboard the International Space Station, Giffords underwent surgery to replace a piece of her skull that had been removed immediately after the shooting to allow her brain to swell.

Last week, the first photos of Giffords since her shooting were posted on her Facebook page. It was hard to tell that she’d nearly been killed. She was smiling happily in one photo; in another she is grinning next to her mother.

The suspect in the shooting, Jared Loughner, has been declared mentally incapable of standing trial. He’s been remanded to a federal facility where doctors are trying to treat his mental illness so that he may one day face justice.

As for Giffords’ congressional seat, she has until May 2012 to decide whether or not she can resume her duties.

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