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

Otto Warmbier, 22, who arrived in the U.S. on Tuesday, is stable but "shows no sign of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or awareness of his surrounding", said Dr. Daniel Kanter, medical director of the neuroscience intensive care unit at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Doctors said they have very limited information about Warmbier's condition before his arrival in the United States and have not had any contact with North Korean medical officials.

His visit coincided with the release of Otto Warmbier, a USA student sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean jail with hard labour jail for admitting to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel he was staying at.

Daniel Kanter, medical director of the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit, right, speaks alongside Jordan Bonomo, a neurointensivist, left, during a news conference regarding Otto Warmbier's condition, Thursday, June 15, 2017, at University of Cincinnati Medical Center in Cincinnati.

Unlike in a coma, patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome are technically awake and can show small signs of eye movement, such as blinking, even if they don't display conscious awareness or reaction to their surroundings like in Warmbier's case.

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.

North Korea said Warmbier fell into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill last March. Doctors treating him in the US said they found no evidence of botulism, but did find severe brain damage consistent with losing oxygen to the brain. "I'm not going to get into what that might look like", U.S. Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a briefing on Thursday, reports Sputnik.

Bill Richardson, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, called for an investigation into what happened to Warmbier leading to this "tragic situation".

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Warmbier remains in a coma, but stable since being brought back to his home state of Ohio.

One reporter followed up on this point, asking if the past administration could have done more to secure Otto's release.
But during a news conference, Fred Warmbier said there was nothing humanitarian about the way they treated his son, who has been in a coma since March 2016. Kanter said his team had received copies of brain MRI images from North Korean medical personnel, the earliest of which were dated April 2016.

Rodman is one of few Americans to have met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and has visited the country four times since 2013. It appears, according to medical professionals, that Warmbier experienced cardiopulmonary arrest, restricting blood flow to the brain for a prolonged period.

Tens of thousands of people are detained across the isolated country in inhumane conditions and subjected to torture and forced labor, it said.

She says Yun traveled with the doctors to North Korea on a private aircraft after being instructed by President Donald Trump to travel there to negotiate Warmbier's release.

North Korea is believed to operate political prison camps and foreign nationals have also been detained on political grounds, Ojea Quintana said. "That's not my objective right now", he said. Fred Warmbier said. "I was in shock".

The U.S. Department of State "strongly warns" American travelers against visiting North Korea.

The University of Virginia student's father, Fred Warmbier, said his son had been "brutalised and terrorised" by the North Korean government.

Doctors declined to speculate on what may have caused Warmbier's condition and said they would not discuss his prospects or treatment out of respect for his family.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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