Home Daily Blitz Doctors: Ex-North Korea Detainee Otto Warmbier Has Severe Brain Injury

Doctors: Ex-North Korea Detainee Otto Warmbier Has Severe Brain Injury


The following is an excerpt from Jason Hanna, Joshua Berlinger and Emanuella Grinberg | July 15, 2017 | CNN.com |

(CNN)Doctors caring for released North Korea detainee Otto Warmbier said he has not spoken or moved on his own since he arrived in the United States on Tuesday, a condition they described as "unresponsive wakefulness" or persistent vegetative state.

The 22-year-old has suffered extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of the brain, doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said in a news conference Thursday.

Also known as persistent vegetative state, the syndrome's symptoms include no voluntary movement or awareness of surroundings. Warmbier opens his eyes and blinks spontaneously but shows no signs of understanding language or responding to verbal commands, said Dr. Daniel Kanter, professor of neurology and director of the Neurocritical Care Program.

The news shed light on the Warmbier family's statement that their son suffered severe brain damage at some point in his 17 months of detention.

His parents said they learned of their son's condition -- what North Korea called a coma -- only last week. Earlier Thursday, Fred Warmbier said he rejected the regime's explanation that his son fell into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill in March 2016 after his trial for trying to steal a political banner.

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