Otto Warmbier, the UVA Student Imprisoned in North Korea, Dies

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Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia college student sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in a sham North Korean trial died at the University of Cincinnati Trauma Center six days his release from captivity. He was 22.

Warmbier, whose condition was described by medical professionals as a state of "unresponsive wakefulness" had been held captive in North Korea for the last 17 months since the pronouncement of sentence before a humanitarian appeal secured the release.

The Cincinnati native had been arrested in North Korea for attempting to remove state propaganda materials in the hallway of his hotel, on the last night of his stay in the dictatorial country. He was arrested at the airport as he and his tour group were preparing for departure.


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A press conference was held at the University of Cincinnati to update the media on the assessment and the results of the battery of tests performed. The lead physician Dr. Daniel Kanter, who provided a medical assessment and took questions, was joined by two Neurology Trauma experts Dr. Jordan Bonomo, who addressed the loss of brain tissue and cause, and Dr. Brandon Foreman who addressed the Botulism explanation.

Kanter explained, during a press conference after a battery of tests, they found no evidence of "recent or healing long bone fractures" nor recent or "healing skull fractures." Upon arrival, he was "well nourished, his skin condition was good." Physically he didn't appear to have been held in a place where he was exposed to insect, rodents or other vermin that would bite or leave scarring on the skin surface.

Kanter also explained, Otto was in an "unresponsive wakefulness state, he shows no signs of understanding and makes no purposeful or responsive gestures."

The New York Times is reporting that an unidentified senior source had indicated Otto had been singled out for torture. Medical Professionals dispute physical beatings. The war torture tactic "waterboarding" could be an explanation for the cardiopulmonary arrest.


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North Korean medical personal released brain scans dating back to April 2016, one month into his 15-year sentence, that showed a significant loss of brain tissue which can only be caused by certain traumas that result in loss of oxygen.

The University of Cincinnati medical neurology trauma team, during a press conference, attempted to clarify for reporters and journalists the potential causes of the loss of oxygen which would have resulted in the irreversible brain damage.

The physicians eliminated certain statements issued by the North Korean government to account for Warmbier's medical condition.

Dr. Jordan Bonomo explained the significant "loss of brain tissue in all regions could only come from cardiopulmonary arrest." He's definitive responsive did little to shed light on an exact cause for the cardiopulmonary arrest and speculation does not either.

Dr. Brandon Foreman indicated the extensive battery of tests showed no signs of Botulism, the explanation the North Korean government issued which resulted in the unresponsive state.

There are only a few scenarios which would result in the significant loss of brain tissue. The brain was deprived of oxygen. The supply of oxygen was stopped this happened by his own hand or the hands of his captors.

The few scenarios a rational mind can determine which would resulting in the medical condition are torture at the hands of the North Koreans which included waterboarding, hanging, strangling or other means of cutting off the oxygen supply to the brain or an unsuccessful suicide attempt in April 2016, one month after his sentencing.

Otto Warmbier died peacefully six days after his release surrounded by his loved ones. His parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier said "while he knew nothing of his surroundings his countenance changed" and she believe he was at peace. 

Image of Mr. Warmbier secured from Wikipedia; Medical image from University of Cincinnati.

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