Jan. 19, 2011: The next phase of recovery for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is likely to begin later this week when she will be transported to one of the best rehabilitation hospitals in the nation, according to a press release issued today by her office.

The congresswoman is expected to move Friday, Jan. 21 to TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital in Houston. But because this is a fluid situation, the exact day of the move will depend on the congresswoman’s health.

“The congresswoman’s family wants to ensure she receives the best rehabilitative care possible for her type of serious penetrating brain injury,” said Dr. Michael Lemole, one of the congresswoman’s neurosurgeons at University Medical Center. “As a result, they considered facilities around the country, including rehabilitation hospitals in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago and Houston.”

Mark Kelly, the congresswoman’s husband, said he and Giffords’ parents weighed many factors in making this decision. High among them was TIRR Memorial Hermann’s relative proximity to Tucson and its outstanding reputation.

For the past 21 years, TIRR Memorial Hermann has been recognized as one of the top-rated rehabilitation hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

“I am extremely hopeful at the signs of recovery that my wife has made since the shooting,” said Kelly. “The team of doctors and nurses at UMC has stabilized her to the point of being ready to move to the rehabilitation phase. Their goal – and our goal – has been to provide Gabby with the best care possible. It is for that reason that we have chosen to have her undergo rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial Hermann, which has a national reputation for treating serious penetrating brain injuries and is also in a community where I have family and a strong support network.”

TIRR Memorial Hermann has more than 40 years experience in treating the kind of brain injuries that Giffords sustained when she was shot at close range on Saturday, Jan. 8. It is part of the prestigious Texas Medical Center.

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