US Congresswoman may be able to attend husband’s shuttle launch

March 9th, 2011 - 12:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 9 (IANS/EFE) Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords continues to make a rapid recovery from a near-fatal gunshot and may be well enough to attend the April 19 launch of the space shuttle Endeavour on a mission commanded by husband Mark Kelly, doctors and family members say.

“So we want to make sure that when the time comes for the shuttle launch, if they (Giffords family) decide to take her there, that she will be ready to participate in that activity,” Gerard Francisco, a doctor who is overseeing the lawmaker’s rehab at TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston, said Tuesday on CBS television’s “The Early Show”.

The 40-year-old Arizona Democrat was among 13 people wounded in a Jan 8 attack on a gathering in front of a supermarket in Tucson. Six people were killed, including a federal judge and a girl of nine.

Since she was moved to TIRR Jan 21, Giffords has shown “miraculous” signs of recovery, especially through music, even singing “Happy Birthday” to her husband and the pop tune “American Pie” together with a friend of the family.

Nurse Tracy Culbert, who cared for Giffords in the first days after the shooting, travelled to Houston last weekend to visit the congresswoman.

“We ate lunch together and she was super excited. We gave each other a big hug and held hands,” Culbert told reporters afterward.

Doctors expect that Giffords, who wears a protective helmet since she still lacks part of her skull, will undergo another operation to repair the cranial damage, though no date for the procedure has yet been scheduled.


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