Gabrielle Giffords Coming to Houston

Gabrielle Giffords with her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly
Gabrielle Giffords with her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly

CNN is reporting that family members say Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will be coming to Houston Friday to begin her long rehab process.

The victim of the Tucson shootings will move to an unnamed facility here, but one with "military surgeons who specialize in bullet wounds to the head," Giffords's mother wrote in an e-mail to relatives obtained by the network.

Giffords's husband, Mark Kelly, is of course an astronaut training at the Johnson Space Center, so the move also makes sense in that regard.

Security will no doubt be tight wherever Giffords is taken, but wherever it is should prepare for TV reporters to be outside doing stand-ups throughout the day, at least for a while. And it wouldn't be surprising if helicopters followed the ambulance as she is transported from the airport (Ellington?) to the facility Friday, given the intense interest in the case.

CultureMap reports she'll be going to The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research at Memorial Hermann in the Med Center.

Updates for now are very encouraging -- not only has she famously given her husband a neck rub, but the e-mail obtained by CNN says she has been scrolling through iPod pictures and reading get-well cards and even a large-print Harry Potter book.

Eventually, of course, the 24/7 ADD interest of viewers will turn elsewhere and Giffords will be able to do her rehab in relative privacy, but for a while at least Houston will play a major role in the story.

Update: Giffords' office confirms the move to the Med Center.

"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."

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