SUNDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The beginning of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' intensive rehabilitation may be delayed until the end of this week because of fluid buildup in her brain, one of her doctors said Saturday.
Dr. John Holcomb, a trauma surgeon and retired Army colonel, told UPI that they will have to decide whether a catheter draining the fluid can be removed and Giffords can be transferred to the reknowned Institute of Rehabilitation and Research in Houston, or if a permanent shunt needs to be inserted. On Friday, Giffords was flown to Houston to begin her long road to recovery following a gunshot wound to her brain two weeks ago.
"No one expects her to go rapidly to TIRR," Holcomb, vice chair of surgery and chief of the acute-care surgery division at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, told UPI. "We just have to wait and see if the fluid buildup issue resolves itself."
The fluid buildup had decreased some on Saturday and doesn't appear to be infected, he added.
Last week, staffers at University Medical Center in Tucson brought the 40-year-old Giffords to a deck at the hospital, where she breathed fresh air and felt the sun, trauma surgeon Dr. Peter Rhee said, the Associated Press reported.
"I saw the biggest smile she could gather," Rhee said. "We are very happy to have her enjoying the sunshine of Arizona."
Giffords has been making surprisingly strong progress since she was shot in the head Jan. 8. Her doctors in Tucson highlighted other signs of her continuing improvement -- she scrolled through an iPad, identified different colored objects and moved her lips. Still, they aren't sure if she is mouthing words, and they don't know how well she can see, the AP reported.
Her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, believes she has tried to speak and can recognize those around her. "I can just look in her
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