American student left with brain injuries after North Korean captivity

The return of US student Otto Warmbier from North Korea has been overshadowed by the news of his current medical condition.

Mr Warmbier was released by North Korean officials this week and told US officials he had be in a coma for more than a year after suffering from a botulism infection.

Doctors from the University of Cincinnati Medical Centre held a press conference after his plane landed on US soil to explain the reality of his injuries, explaining he has suffered extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of the brain.

Otto Warmbier, North Korea
Otto's father, Fred, speaks to media wearing the same jacket his son appeared before a North Korean court in. Photo credit: Getty

"He has spontaneous eye opening and blinking however he shows no signs of understanding language," Lead Physician Daniel Kanter said.

"This pattern of brain injury is usually seen as a result of cardio pulmonary arrest where the blood supply to the brain is inadequate."

Mr Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years hard labour in March 2016 after authorities accused him of attempting to steal a banner from his hotel.

His recent release came after State Department officials travelled to North Korea to demand his immediate release on humanitarian grounds.


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