HOUSTON (January 26, 2011)

Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords continues on her journey to recovery with her transfer today to TIRR Memorial Hermann, ranked one of the top-five rehabilitation hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report for 21 years.

After being cleared for transfer by her physicians this morning at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, Giffords was taken by ambulance to TIRR Memorial Hermann shortly after 9 a.m. She and her family, including husband Mark Kelly, were greeted there by hospital CEO Carl Josehart and Dr. Gerard Francisco, chief medical officer, TIRR Memorial Hermann and chair, department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School.

"The congresswoman has done very well in her therapy sessions in the ICU," said Francisco. "It will be good to have her at TIRR Memorial Hermann where we can devote more time to her rehabilitation and recovery."

Dr. Francisco is one of the nation's leading physicians in the field of brain injury and stroke rehabilitation. A frequent lecturer nationally and internationally, he is currently conducting research on the use of botulinum toxin and intrathecal baclofen for the treatment of spasticity, along with the use of robots to facilitate recovery after a stroke or spinal cord injury. 

Giffords started rehabilitation in the Memorial Hermann-TMC Neuro-trauma intensive care unit (ICU) on Friday, January 21, when she was flown from Arizona to Houston, and then brought by Life Flight helicopter to the hospital's level one trauma center.

"We knew from the team in Tucson that her condition was better than expected," said Colonel (Retired, U.S. Army) John Holcomb, MD, a trauma surgeon at Memorial Hermann-TMC and assistant professor of Neurotrauma, UTHealth. "The congresswoman has continued to make remarkable progress."

During her stay in ICU, Congresswoman Giffords has been under the care of a multidisciplinary team, that also includes Dr. Imoigele Aisiku, director of Neurocritical Care, Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann and associate professor and vice chairman of Critical Care, department of Neurosurgery at UTHealth, and Dr. Bryan Oh, neurotrauma surgeon, Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann, and assistant professor of neurotrauma, UTHealth Medical School.

Founded in 1959, TIRR Memorial Hermann is one of very few hospitals in the country designated as a model system for traumatic brain injury by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. It has been named to the "Best Hospitals" list by U.S. News and World Report Magazine for 21 years, every year the list has been published.

TIRR Memorial Hermann is also home to one of the top residency programs in neurological physical therapy, more than 57,000 outpatient visits occur annually at TIRR Memorial Hermann, reflecting the knowledge, compassion and dedication of physicians, nurses, researchers and staff involved in direct patient care.