North Korea reported that Warmbier been in a coma for months after he reportedly contracted botulism and took a sleeping pill. However, doctors in the U.S. have found no evidence to back those claims after examining him, according to CNN
Warmbier’s condition is “best described as unresponsive wakefulness” according to Daniel Kanter, head of the neurocritical care program at University of Cincinnati Health, during a news conference on Thursday.
The 22-year-old can open his eyes and blink, but shows no sign of understanding language or verbal commands. His brain also appears to have lost an extensive amount of tissue.
“We have no certifiable knowledge of the cause or circumstances of his neurological injuries,” Kanter said.
“This pattern of brain injury is usually seen as result of cardiopulmonary arrest where blood supply to brain is inadequate for a period of time, resulting in the death of brain tissue,” he added.
Cardiopulmonary arrrest is rare and typically caused by intoxication or traumatic injury. However, doctors say they found no signs of physical trauma after examining Warmbier.
“Even if you believe their explanation of botulism and a sleeping pill causing a coma — and we don’t — there is no excuse for any civilized nation to have kept his condition a secret and denied him top-notch medical care for so long,” said Fred Warmbier, Otto Warmbier’s father, during a news conference at his son’s alma mater, Wyoming High School north of Cincinnati.
“There’s no excuse for the way the North Koreans treated our son. And no excuse for the way they’ve treated so many others. No other family should have to endure what the Warmbiers have,” he added.