Doctors say Otto Warmbier has ‘extensive loss of brain tissue’ on return from N. Korea

UPDATE @ 3:19 p.m.

Dr. Daniel Kanter of UC Health was among three physicians to give an update Thursday afternoon to Otto Warmbier’s medical condition since arriving in the U.S. 40 hours ago.

Kanter said Otto has “no signs of understanding language, responding to verbal commands, or awareness of surroundings.”

Otto has undergone a full list of imaging and diagnostic tests. Kanter said they have very little information about Otto’s care in North Korea, except they did get access to images of Otto’s brain from April 2016.

“Based on the analysis, the brain injury occurred in the preceding weeks,” Kanter said.

Kanter said Otto’s vital signs were stable upon arrival, as well his skin was in good condition and he was well nourished.

Kanter said while Otto has spontaneous moments of eye opening, he has not spoken or made any purposeful movements.

An MRI of his brain revealed “extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of the brain,” Kanter said, along with “profound weakness” in his leg and arm muscles.

To the North Korean claim that Otto suffered from botulism, Dr. Brandon Foreman said all tests have found no evidence of active botulism.

Kanter said it’s impossible to know what caused Otto’s brain injury, but it’s consistent with a lack of oxygen to the brain for a period of time.

Kanter did say that Otto sustained no bone fractures.

At the family’s wish, the physicians refrained from discussing what the future holds for Otto.

UPDATE @ 10:09 a.m.

Fred Warmbier, father of  Otto Warmbier, addressed the media for 10 minutes before taking questions. Cindy Warmbier remained at a UC Health hospital, by her son’s side.

Wearing the same coat as Otto did during his confession in North Korea, Fred Warmbier said it’s a “bittersweet feeling our family has” that Otto has returned.

Fred Warmbier said they are happy Otto is back "in the arms of those who love him," but angry he was treated brutally.
Fred Warmbier said the family was only notified a week ago by North Korean officials, that Otto has been in a coma for the last year.

“Otto is a fighter and we firmly believe he fought to stay alive through the worst …” Fred Warmbier said. “I was in shock.”

RELATED: West Carrollton man talks about being held in North Korea

RELATED: 3 things we learned when North Korea detained a local man

Fred Warmbier also said the family does not believe North Korea’s story that “botulism and sleeping pill” caused his coma. Fred Warmbier said the country kept Otto’s condition secret and “denied him top-notch care.”

“Nobody has seen or heard from Otto since March 2016,” Fred Warmbier said.

A hospital official from UC Health said later today three doctors will share an update on Otto’s medical condition. He is in stable condition but sustained a severe neurological injury, the official said.

“Otto was brutalized and terrorized,” Fred Warmbier said, of the North Korean regime he called “a pariah” and “terroristic.”

Fred Warmbier said he received a call from President Donald Trump Wednesday evening about the effort to get Otto home.

A former teacher of Otto also spoke, stating he “thrived” in high school.

REACTION: West Carrollton man Jeff Fowle, former NK detainee, reacts to Warmbier release


The parents of Otto Warmbier, the parents of the Cincinnati student who was released after a 16-month detainment in North Korea, will speak today.

RELATED: Dad of Cincinnati-area man released from North Korea says son was ‘brutalized’

Fred and Cindy Warmbier will speak at 10 a.m. today. The news conference will be aired live on this website.

Otto Warmbier has been in a coma for over a year and is receiving medical treatment at University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

OHIO REACTION: Portman, Brown denounce North Korea after learning condition of NK detainee Warmbier 

RELATED: Amid diplomatic contact, North Korea frees American student

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