Gabrielle Giffords Leaves Hospital

Well-wishers speed her way to Houston
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2011 12:04 PM CST
Shirley McReynolds, right, and Dortha Bradley, second from right, stand along Campbell Avenue in Tucson, Ariz., as the ambulance carrying U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., passes by Jan. 21, 2011.   (AP Photo/Arizona Daily Star, Mamta Popat)
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(Newser) – Following her first trip outside yesterday, Gabrielle Giffords today departed on an even bigger one: She left her Tucson hospital for a rehabilitation center in Houston. Crowds saw her off holding “Get well” signs and flags as an ambulance carried her to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, MSNBC reports. Giffords was escorted by motorcycle riders from a Veterans of Foreign Wars post, and was then taken via medical flight to a Houston airport. From there, a helicopter will carry her to the rehab hospital.

Giffords’ husband, mother, and staff members were expected to ride alongside her in the air ambulance, the Arizona Republic reports. US Capitol police put extra security in place at the Houston facility, where she will remain until she no longer requires 24-hour care. First order of business: Check her vitals and give her a number of tests to determine what she can and cannot do, from walking and swallowing to brushing her teeth and combing her hair. Click to see what else might be in store for Giffords.

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