Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Shot US politician set for physio

Gabrielle Giffords
Gabrielle Giffords

US politician Gabrielle Giffords is to be moved from Arizona to Houston, Texas, for intensive mental and physical rehabilitation, less than two weeks after surviving a bullet through the brain in an attempted assassination.

The 40-year-old Arizona Democrat congresswoman will have to relearn how to think and plan and it is unclear if she is able to speak or how well she can see.

And while she is moving both arms and legs, it is uncertain how much strength she has on her right side.

Hospital spokeswoman Janet Stark said Ms Giffords was able to stand with assistance from medical staff - another significant milestone in her recovery.

Ms Giffords' family hopes to move her to TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston on Friday, where her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, lives and works.

"I am extremely hopeful at the signs of recovery that my wife has made since the shooting," Mr Kelly said in a statement released by Ms Giffords' congressional office.

The staff at University Medical Centre in Tucson "has stabilised her to the point of being ready to move to the rehabilitation phase", he added.

Meanwhile, a federal grand jury indicted shooting suspect Jared Loughner, 22, accusing him of attempting to assassinate Ms Giffords and trying to kill two of her aides.

Loughner is accused of shooting Ms Giffords in the forehead on January 8 while she was meeting constituents outside a supermarket in Tucson. The gunman shot 18 other people, killing six.

In Arizona, meanwhile, a video surfaced indicating that Judge John Roll died trying to save the life of another person at the political rally. Surveillance footage of the rampage showed that used his body to shield an injured man. The judge was then shot in the back and died in the process.

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