Otto Warmbier Physicians at University of Cincinnati Describe His Condition As “Unresponsive Wakefulness”

Medical team at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center updates condition of American released from North Korea in a coma after serving nearly 18 months of his sentence.

Dr. Daniel Kanter, MD, Professor of Neurology, Director, Neurocritical Care Program at the University of Cincinnati spoke at a press conference at about 3:00 p.m. Thursday, June 15, 2017 on the condition of Otto Warmbier.

Otto Warmbier arrived in Cincinnati at approximately 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

Warmbier immediately received extensive series of imaging and diagnosis tests at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Vital signs were stable upon arrival and remained stable.

Otto Warmbier requires no oxygen or respiratory assistance.

He has no signs of infection or dysfunction of the major non-neurological organs.

His neurological condition is best described as unresponsive wakefulness. He has spontaneous eye opening and blinking, but he has no response to verbal commands, no signs of understanding language, and is unaware of his surroundings. He has not spoken, and has not engaged in any purposeful movements

Warmbier has spastic quadriparesis, which means he as profound weakness and contractions of muscles of his arms and legs.

An MRI showed extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of the brain with no known cause of the neurological with severe injury to all regions of the brain. There is no certain or verifiable cause or circumstances associated with Otto Warmbier’s neurological injury. The brain injury is usually seen as a result of cardiopulmonary arrest, not from head trauma.

His earliest brain images from April 2016 were provided from North Korea medical personnel. Doctors speculated that his brain injury likely occurred in the preceding weeks of the April 2016 images.

His skin was in good condition and his nutrition was good when he arrived at the University of Cincinnati.

Tests performed show no signs of active botulism in Otto’s system.

At the request of Otto Warmbier’s family, prospects for improvement will remain confidential, and questions that overlapped prognosis were not answered.




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Otto Warmbier’s father speaks on June 15, 2017 to the press about Otto’s return home Tuesday, June 13th from North Korea. Warmbier had been sentenced to 15 years hard labor for trying to steal a propaganda banner.

American college student released from a North Korean prison is in stable condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center but suffered a severe neurological injury; Ellison Barber reports from Wyoming, Ohio