Doctors: Otto Warmbier in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness"
UPDATE: A team of doctors from UC Medical Center say an Ohio man recently returned to the United States from a North Korean prison is in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness."
Warmbier arrived at the hospital around 10:00 p.m. on June 13 and was taken to the neuroscience intensive care unit. In an update with members of the media Thursday afternoon, Doctor Daniel Kanter said Warmbier's vital signs were stable when he arrived and have remained stable. However, doctors will not address any of Warmbier's chances improvement or future care.
Dr. Kanter said Warmbier's family has been by their son's side since he was admitted into the hospital. He went on to say that Warmbier does not need oxygen or respiratory assistance. His eyes will open spontaneously and he will blink, but Dr. Kanter said the 22-year-old shows no signs of understanding language or no awareness of his surroundings. Kanter also said Warmbier has extensive loss of brain tissue in all areas of his brain.
One of the members of the medical team, Dr. Brandon Foreman did say they have no found any evidence that Warmbier suffered from botulism, which was an explanation given from North Korea on what put Warmbier into a coma.
Doctors have received some of Warmbier's medical scans from North Korea. The earliest of the scans are dated April of 2016, doctors say they suspect Warmbier's brain injury happened in the weeks leading up to when the scans were taken.
WATCH the doctors' comments in full below:
WYOMING, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Fred Warmbier became emotional at times as he spoke of being reunited with his son, Otto, who'd been held prisoner in North Korea for the past 18 months.
Warmbier expressed his thanks for the support his family has received as they waited for their son to be returned to the United States. Twenty-two-year-old Otto Warmbier was imprisoned in 2016, accused of trying to steal a banner with a political slogan from a hotel in Pyongyang. As his father addressed news cameras Thursday morning, he said North Korea lures Americans to the country through ads that promote a safe trip, then he says they take Americans hostage, "he was taken hostage at the airport as he was trying to leave the country, then he was put through the trial which we've all seen."
Watch full press conference:
The Warmbier family just learned their son was in a coma and had been since March of 2016. Warmbier said his wife was with Otto at UC Medical Center, where he says "we're trying to make him comfortable." While North Korea said it released Warmbier for "humanitarian" reasons, Warmbier said he's not sure what the real reason is or if that real reason will ever be uncovered, "they did not do this out of the kindness of their hearts, North Korea doesn't do anything out of the kindness of their hearts." Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is currently visiting North Korea and some have speculated his visit prompted the country to return Otto to the U.S., but Warmbier said he absolutely does not believe Rodman had an effect on his son's release. He said he believes the State Department did a lot of tough negotiating to get Otto back home.
Warmbier said there is no excuse for how North Korea treated their son and how many other Americans have been treated.