After Otto Warmbier's Release, Will US Ban Travel To North Korea?


Otto Warmbier has a severe brain injury and is in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness", his OH doctors said on Thursday.

Warmbier has extensive loss of brain tissue, a condition that can often occur as a result of cardio-pulmonary arrest which cuts off the supply of blood to the brain for a period of time resulting in the death of brain tissue, Kanter said.

Warmbier is in stable a condition at the UC Medical Center, where he was taken after his arrival in OH on Wednesday, after more than 17 months in North Korean captivity. His family asked his doctors to disclose details about his condition amid intense scrutiny and questions about his condition.

"He has spontaneous eye opening and blinking", Dr. Daniel Kanter, who is head of the hospital's neurocritical care program, told reporters on Thursday.

The doctors would not comment on Warmbier's prognosis or his chances of fully recovering, citing his parents' wishes. In a news conference Thursday, doctors called his condition "unresponsive wakefulness", and revealed he had suffered significant brain damage during his imprisonment.

North Korea said Warmbier had been released on humanitarian grounds after he was sentenced to 15 years hard labour for trying to steal a propaganda sign.

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The tour group that brought a 22 year-old American student to North Korea where he was later detained and sent home over a year later in a coma advertises the country as "probably one of the safest countries on Earth to visit". North Korea claimed that Otto Warmbier fell into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill shortly after his sentencing. 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.

After the Swedes visited one detainee, North Korea representatives sought another meeting with Yun, and it was at that June 6 meeting in NY that North Korea's United Nations ambassador told Yun that Warmbier was in a coma, the official said.

The 22-year-old arrived back in the USA on Tuesday after being detained in the pariah state since January 2016.

The father of the man held for almost a year and half by North Korea is thanking the Trump administration for "aggressively" working to secure his release. He was medically evacuated from the country and arrived in Cincinnati late Tuesday. "Since the United States does not maintain diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea, the USA government has no means to provide normal consular services to US citizens in North Korea".

'That was it. That was the last physical time I saw Otto, ever.

"Otto is a fighter and we firmly believe he fought to stay alive through the worst ..."

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"So Otto's a young thrill-seeking great kid who was going to be in that part of the world for a college experience and said 'Hey, I've had some friends who have done this, I'd like to do this.' So we agreed to let him do that".

Rodman has described past trips to North Korea as "basketball diplomacy". "It was kind", Fred Warmbier said.

He says the administration is heartened Warmbier has been reunited with his family.

"He announced that Warmbier "[showed] no sign of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or [being aware of] his surroundings".

Richardson, who has been in close contact with the Warmbier family, said he did not believe Pyongyang's explanation that the student's condition was the result of botulism and a sleeping pill.

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