LOS ANGELES — US lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords was released from hospital Wednesday, doctors said, five months after she was shot in the head at point-blank range in an attack which shocked America.
A few days after the first photos of her since the attack were published, doctors said “her cognitive abilities and physical strength have improved to the point where she no longer needs to remain a patient in the hospital.
“Congresswoman Giffords has shown clear, continuous improvement from the moment she arrived at TIRR five months ago,” said Dr. Gerard Francisco, the hospital’s chief medical officer, in a statement.
“We are very excited that she has reached the next phase of her rehabilitation and can begin outpatient treatment. We have no doubt that she will continue to make significant strides in her recovery,” he added.
Six people, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl, were killed and 12 others wounded in the January 8 shooting spree, which stunned the nation and made headlines around the world.
In March, the alleged shooter, Jared Loughner, was declared mentally unfit to stand trial. Experts found the 22-year-old to be schizophrenic and unable to help in his own defense or understand court proceedings.
Photos of a smiling Giffords were posted on her Facebook page last weekend.
With flecks of gray visible in her closely-cropped dark hair and wearing wire-rimmed glasses, Giffords smiles broadly in one of the two pictures, dated May 17. A second photo shows her seated next to her mother, Gloria Giffords.