Video: Giffords flown to Houston for evaluation and rehab

Gabrielle Giffords continues to make remarkable progress after surviving an assassination attempt by a lunatic in Tucson. In less than two weeks since being shot in the head at nearly point-blank range, Giffords can now stand with some assistance and is showing signs of trying to speak. Giffords has a tracheal tube still in place which makes speaking impossible, but the fact that she has tried to speak is yet another sign that Giffords is fighting to recover from the shooting, as well as an indicator that her brain may recover from the trauma — although the road will be long and difficult:

Giffords flew from Tucson to Houston today, where she will start her rehabilitation in order to be close to her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly:

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Friday left the Tucson, Arizona hospital where she has been treated since a January 9 gunshot wound, traveling under police escort down streets lined with well-wishers.

Giffords’ first stop was to be Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, where she was expected to board an aircraft that will carry her to Houston. She will continue her recovery there.

Although previous reports had indicated she would move directly to a rehabilitation facility affiliated with Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, she will instead be taken to the hospital’s trauma center for evaluation and treatment, said Dr. Dong Kim, a neurosurgeon at the hospital.

“She’s not quite ready for rehabilitation yet,” he said, citing concerns about ongoing medical issues. He declined to elaborate.

The ongoing medical issues relate to her surgeries over the last thirteen days, as the video report makes clear. Memorial Hermann will oversee her case as she goes through rehab, so they need to do their own evaluation first to proceed properly. That means ensuring that Giffords’ post-surgical status is stable, getting baseline measurements on her abilities, and developing their own plan for rehab. It shouldn’t take long, but the evaluation shouldn’t surprise or discourage anyone.

We will certainly keep Rep. Giffords, her family and friends, and her caregivers in our prayers, as we do for the other victims in the Tucson shootings.  Hopefully we will hear more good news in the future for all of the surviving victims.