If North Korea is to be believed, recently returned U.S. prisoner Otto Warmbier is in a coma because of a mix of a sleeping pill and botulism, a bacterial infection that can lead to a coma if untreated. However, Warmbier’s parents and leading medical experts aren’t buying Pyongyang’s explanation either.
According to doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Warmbier suffered extensive brain damage during his imprisonment and shows no outward signs of botulism. At a press conference Thursday, doctors provided updates on Warmbier’s injuries and condition:
The 22-year-old has not spoken or “engaged in any purposeful movements” since arriving in the country Tuesday night, said Dr. Daniel Kanter, professor of neurology and director of the Neurocritical Care Program.
“He shows no signs of understanding language or responding to verbal commands,” the doctor said, adding that Warmbier’s condition is best described as “unresponsive wakefulness.”
Kanter went on to explain that the brain injuries Warmbier have are consistent with brain injuries where brain tissue dies because of inadequate blood supply because of cardiopulmonary arrest.
At the press conference, the doctors did not provide a prognosis for Warmbier. Nor did they speculate upon a definitive cause for his condition or injuries because they haven’t received credible information about the medical care he received before returning to the U.S.