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Gabrielle Giffords looks great in first photos, though full mental recovery less certain

Gabrielle Giffords with her mother Gloria Giffords, May 17 in Houston

Gabrielle Giffords' Facebook friends got the first peek at the post-op congresswoman who was shot in the head during an assassination attempt Jan. 8.Gabrielle Giffords May 17

The shooting, which killed six others including a federal judge and wounded 13, shocked the nation and prompted an outpouring of support and sympathy for the Tucson Democratic representative and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.

For previous photos of the congresswoman and her husband, click on the Related links below.

While the photos, taken May 17 at her Houston rehab facility, show a strong smile, Giffords' staff has reported that she is having trouble communicating, using sentence fragments and gestures.

And her return to Congress is in doubt. In such brain injuries most of a patient's recovery occurs during the first year. Tentative plans call for her hospital release within the next month.

The alleged shooter, Jared Loughner, has been deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial for the moment.


First photos from Giffords' hospital room

Gabrielle Giffords' first waking moments: eyewitness report from the hospital

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: P.K. Weis / (Giffords in a Houston rehab facility, May 17, with her mother Gloria).

Comments () | Archives (17)

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The Hispanic people I know(co -workers and their families) are Americans and they have all told me they are against the Democrats open border policy. It seems that the people who came here the legal way want others to do the same! Amazing if Hispanic people voted for Democrats I would have to wonder how many of them were Americans? It seems to me and my American Hispanic friends that only Americans should vote in American elections. I wonder what you folks think . As always you can contact me at work and yes keep those jokes coming! We need them in a country where people who are not citizens are encouraged to vote! Am I the only one who thinks this is wrong? I don't vote in Mexican or Canadian elections so will someone explain why the Dems think this is a good thing? (besides the obvious reason of supporting their agenda by cheating). Obamacare is so bad that the Democrats came up with a new name for it. They call it "waiversforfavors". Is Al Gore still saving the planet from Global Warming by circling it in his private jet? Obama we hear your wife singing! Its over so take your Frank and your Wiener and go far away. What Bush Tax Cuts? They expired almost 2 years ago. We are now living under the Obama Tax Rates

Good luck for some kind of recovery yet advisements unheeded cause these occasions as declared at

I'm glad that you are doing better.I was in Flordia when the shuttle was coming in and heard the loud noise.It scared me.But I'm glad that they made it home safely and your husband also.Take care and be praying for you to get all better soon.

Your friend,

What a beautiful woman outwardly but especially spiritually. I am overwhelmed with joy at the beautiful smile exuding from her face. God truly loves her and has a special plan for her.

This is nothing short of a miracle. From a rabid right-wing republican...I'm so happy you're well Mrs. Giffords. Keep it up and God bless you.

Hope she makes a total recovery. This I ask of our Lord Jesus Christ. Francisco

Anybody who can smile like that, after suffering the injury she did such a short time ago, is on her way to a full recovery.

I am so happy for your recovery to date. As a PT, brain injury can continue on for years, and so continue with your therapy and with people who believe in that possibility and who have had that success. As a survivor of TBI, though not to your extent, most medical people did not believe in nor know of success in their clinical practice. As a patient I worked with others, who saw possibilities and had helped their patients. My recommendation: work with those who believe in you and the success that you seek and believe in! Many blessings in your continued recovery and success in life. :)

From what I read in the media, Giffords and Loughner, the gunman, went to the same synagogue, and he was mad at her for voting on a specific bill he did not agree with.

I wish her a speedy recovery and that she suffers no lasting effects.

We have not heard very much about the families of the other people that were killed. I hope time will ease the pain of losing their loved ones.

Believe in your healing! work with people who support your healing! and believe in those results! many blessings on your continued healing and re-entry into your live!

Best wishes (from another Francisco Ricardo @ RISD).

Republicans.......Wish Gabrielle a full, and speedy recovery, and the other victims of that shooting as well.


It does my heart good to see her smile. My prayers and wishes are with her and her family.

She looks like an angel.

Bless her heart (and head). She looks adorable. What a spunky, amazing woman. I wish her and her family all the very best.

My husband suffered a brain injury in 1995. His injury was different because he was oxygen deprived, due to a heart attack. They thought he would have to sustain a long term rehab stay, and ended up coming home from the hospital. He went through rehab, as an out patient, for a good while. They hoped he would improve and return 50-60%, of what we called normal. He returned to about 90%, of what we called normal. His speech is still not quite the same, but it still seems to be improving, as long as he relaxes, while he is speaking. He was unable to return to work, because of his short term memory issues. He taught in a fast-paced work environment, electrical and electronics. It was a very difficult time for all of us, for about 2 years. However, life has been wonderful ever since. Every moment is treasured, like it could be the last. He was a stay at home dad, a really great one, I might add. He is now a stay at home Paw Paw, and loving life. We spend much more time together, then before, since all of his work was out of state. I would like to leave one thought with you. Focus on what you have, and God will do the rest.
Have a blessed life! Marion


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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