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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

Miraculous Recovery

Published November 28, 2011 3:58 PM by Brian Ferrie

On Nov. 23, CNN posted an article updating the status of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is still working hard to overcome the devastating effects of a gunshot wound to the brain that "would have killed most people." At a meet-and-greet event for the congresswoman outside a Tucson, AZ, shopping center in January, she was one of the victims of a shooting spree. Jared Loughner, 23, stands accused of the attack, which killed six people and wounded 12 others in addition to Giffords. The congresswoman has made what doctors call a "miraculous" recovery since the shooting.

The CNN article details a recent interview with Giffords' husband Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and Navy captain who retired last month. Intense physical, occupational and speech therapy is helping Giffords reach a point where she can consider returning to office, said Kelly. The couple have chronicled their experience in a new book, Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope.

"There's a lot to be thankful for," Kelly told CNN. He also noted that Giffords is generally in an "upbeat mood" and not angry about what happened to her. "She'll come back stronger than ever, I'm convinced," he added.

What are your thoughts about Giffords' recovery, mindset and possible return to office? In addition, take a look at ADVANCE blogger Toni Patt's assessment of the "Unintended Consequences" of Giffords' rehabilitation.

2 comments

I have a friend, in her thirties with three small children, who recently suffered a substantial brain bleed affecting both speech and mobility.  She had just relocated for her husband to return to school and she is a stay-at-home mom who homeschools.  I can't help but wonder how her access to physical therapy will compare to Giffords'.  

Jane Goude November 30, 2011 3:58 PM

I am thrilled to see what is possible with appropriate rehab and dedication of a patient. I am saddened by the very clear inequality of access to care that exists in the USA. Dr Patt raises some excellent points that Representative Giffords received treatment that most people wouldn't get from their insurance coverage and most couldn't afford to pay for privately. I have often heard it said that "The USA has the best health care in the world!" to which I would add, "...that money can buy." I hope this case provides evidence on multiple levels including that intense rehab really can make a difference and is  worth paying for. The other being that there really is a huge inequality in access to health care that requires attention.

Dean Metz, , Lead Physio NHS of England November 29, 2011 12:47 PM

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