Gabrielle Giffords to move to rehab

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Recovery is occuring at such a rate that the Congresswoman can now stand, with help.

Continuing her astounding recovery, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is to be moved to a rehabilitation centre in Houston, Texas.

Giffords can now sit, dangle her legs over the bed and even stand up with assistance. All this only 12 days after suffering injuries that are the stuff of nightmares, the assassin’s bullet entering through the back of her head and exiting just above her left eye, taking with it part of her skull.

Ninety per cent of people with this severity of traumatic brain injury die before they even get to hospital, but what appears to have saved Gifford is a combination of the quick actions of her intern, who staunched the bleeding, the proximity of the hospital and skill of the surgeons, and the fact that her wounds were all on one side of the brain and didn’t pass through from left to right. 

It remains to be seen whether she suffers some paralysis, probably on the right, and whether the injury has affected her personality, but the good news is that traumatic brain injury patients recover far better than stroke or Parkinson’s patients, often continuing to regain brain function for 18 months after the injury. If she is also, as rumoured, left-handed, this might help further, as in left-handed people, the left side of the brain controls less essential functions than in right-handed people. 

It would be a terrible shame if this woman, who wanted above all to be a public servant, cannot continue to serve her nation in some way. But it would be a tragedy if she undergoes a personality change, or is unable to recognise her friends and family.

And so fingers and everything else are crossed that she goes on to live a full and happy life. 


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