HOUSTON — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Wednesday left intensive care for the first time since she was shot in the head in Arizona more than two weeks ago, the latest big step in the long road to recovery.
With her progress moving at "lightning speed," doctors had the Arizona lawmaker moved to a hospital rehab center, where she immediately began therapy that could last several months.
Doctors said she will have a valve inserted into her breathing tube to help her talk.
When asked if the congresswoman was able to speak, neurosurgeon Dr. Dong Kim said, "we can say that her speech function, along with everything else, is improving" but declined to elaborate.
Giffords, 40, had been in intensive care since her arrival Friday from Tucson, where she was shot Jan. 8 while meeting with constituents. The gunman killed six people and injured 13 others in a rampage outside a supermarket.