NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Houston Gets Ready for Rep. Giffords

By Carrie Feibel, KUHF News

Houston, TX – The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research is getting ready for the arrival of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The Houston hospital goes by the acronym TIRR and is part of the Memorial Hermann system. Giffords is expected arrive in Houston Friday Morning. Carrie Feibel reports.

Giffords will not start therapy right away. Her doctors say they'll first conduct a series of in-depth assessments that could take three days. Dr. Gerard Francisco will direct the rehabilitation team.

Francisco: "It's not like a test that can be done in 30 minutes. It will be done over a period of time, because we would like to make sure we can assess someone to make sure this person can perform at his or her best."

For example, if Giffords is sleepy or confused, doctors may repeat a particular test later when she is more alert and energized. Specialists will test her speech, memory, swallowing and larger motor skills like balance and walking.

Francisco is the chief medical officer for TIRR. He says there are no VIP suites at the hospital but Giffords will have a private room for security and privacy reasons. Other than that, she'll undergo the same routines as all the other patients.

Francisco: "It's different because of the national attention that this particular case has attracted but we don't plan to treat her any differently than they way we treat someone with a similar injury. It's going to be business as usual."

Francisco says it's too early to make any predictions about how the congresswoman will progress. He wouldn't even say whether her case was more difficult than the typical rehabilitation patient.

Francisco: "We'll stay away from using the word difficult. We say it's challenging for us to have someone. so we face the challenge of assessing the person, identifying all the problems, all the deficits, and deciding a rehabilitation program that is tailored to that particular person's needs."