Doctors: Ex-North Korea detainee has severe brain damage
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 21, 2017,
Jun 21, 2017, 2:25
Otto Warmbier is in stable condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center with his mother by his side, hospital spokeswoman Kelly Martin said. Richardson credited the State Department with the successful return of Warmbier, but said a response by the USA government will be required if it is found there was a cover-up relating to Otto's condition and if he had not received proper medical treatment. North Korea reportedly told the USA that Warmbier contracted botulism poisoning and fell into a coma soon after his March 2016 trial, in which he confessed to stealing a propaganda poster from a hotel.
"We were advised by the past administration to take a low profile", and not do anything to offend the North Koreans, Warmbier said.
He returned to Cincinnati yesterday on a medevac flight and in a coma, having been "brutalized" by his captors, his father, Fred Warmbier, said in a statement.
Fred Warmbier revealed that President Donald Trump called him Wednesday night to ask about Otto and the rest of his family.
"He was very candid and it was a nice conversation", he said, adding that Trump expressed concern for the family's wellbeing.
He said he doesn't believe "anything they (the North Koreans) say". The doctors said Thursday that there were no clear signs of physical trauma, such as scars or bone fractures. He called for an investigation, and urges a forceful response if the investigation finds North Korea covered up Otto's condition and he resultantly did not get proper treatment.
Doctors described 22-year-old Otto Warmbier's condition as a state of "unresponsive wakefulness" after they examined him upon his return from North Korea. He was welcomed home by loved ones in his home town, but his family blames North Korea for how they treated their son.
Warmbier was on a tour of North Korea early a year ago when he allegedly tried to steal a propaganda banner from his hotel and was charged with hostile acts against the state.
Fred Warmbier also accused North Korea of luring Americans to the country with a Chinese tour company making the false promise they will never be detained.
Warmbier's release coincided with basketball star Dennis Rodman's latest visit to North Korea, though Michael Anton, a United States national security spokesman, told CNN there is no connection between the two. They didn't have an update on his condition until just last week.
He arrived on a military airplane in his home town late on Tuesday.
The University of Virginia student's parents were told he has been in a coma for about a year, and that he had contracted botulism, which causes paralysis.