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Giffords attempts speech as doctors prepare her for move

Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-AZ, smiles alongside her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. (Source: Giffords for Congress) Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-AZ, smiles alongside her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. (Source: Giffords for Congress)
Astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ, keeps vigil at his wife's bedside at the University Medical Center. (Source: KOLD) Astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ, keeps vigil at his wife's bedside at the University Medical Center. (Source: KOLD)
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Tucson, AZ -

TUCSON, AZ (RNN) - Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ, who has made attempts to speak, will be transported Friday to a rehabilitation center in Houston, according to her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.

"We're going to move her tomorrow," Kelly said Thursday morning in a news conference at the University Medical Center (UMC) in Tucson, AZ, where Giffords is currently receiving medical care.

Kelly could not confirm how Giffords would be transported to Texas. He said Giffords' medical team is currently in the first phase of putting a plan into action.

Giffords will undergo therapy at the TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital in Houston, where Kelly lives and works.

Kelly also confirmed in Thursday's news conference that Giffords has tried to speak.

"I feel she's made some attempts," he said. "She has a tracheostomy."

Kelly said Giffords seems to understand that she is trying to speak and is also able to identify those around her.

"She's very aware of who's around her, just very aware of the situation," he said.

According to the Associated Press, Giffords was able to stand up "with assistance" on Wednesday but remains "too weak" to walk on her own.

"I think she's made a remarkable recovery at this point," Kelly said Thursday.

[For more on Giffords' recovery, click here]

Other rehabilitation hospitals in Washington, New York and Chicago had been considered.

"The congresswoman's family wants to ensure she receives the best rehabilitative care possible for her type of serious penetrating brain injury," Dr. Michael Lemole, Giffords' neurosurgeon at UMC, said in a news release.

Two factors led Mark Kelly, Giffords' husband, and her parents to choose TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital: its outstanding reputation and proximity to Tucson.

The hospital is part of the Texas Medical Center in Houston and has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top hospital for the past 21 years.


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