U.S. doctors dispute North Korean coma story

Denise Koesterman ties blue-and-white awareness ribbons along Springfield Pike near the family home of Otto Warmbier a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was imprisoned in North Korea in March 2016 in the Wyoming suburb of Cinc

Denise Koesterman ties blue-and-white awareness ribbons along Springfield Pike near the family home of Otto Warmbier a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was imprisoned in North Korea in March 2016 in the Wyoming suburb of Cinc

Earlier today, Warmbier's father Fred said the North Koreans brutalized his son and implied the regime is lying about the cause of his son's coma. He was then sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years of hard labor and it was the last time anyone, including his parents saw him, until now.

His father criticized the Obama administration on Thursday for the handling of his son's imprisonment.

Ned Price says the Democratic president's administration "worked through every avenue available" to try to secure the release of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier (WORM'-bir). Doctors said his injuries are consistent with respiratory arrest cutting off oxygen to the brain, but they don't know what caused it. The U.S. says North Korea is using detained Americans as political pawns, while Pyongyang has accused Washington and Seoul of sending spies to overthrow the regime.

He said he doesn't believe "anything they (the North Koreans) say".

Warmbier is a University of Virginia student who arrived back home in OH on Tuesday in a coma. He called on the country to release three other Americans now held there.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert (NOW'-ert) says the US hopes the other Americans will be able to return home soon.

It's been too long for Warmbier to be considered in a coma, doctors, said.

Warmbier spent 17 months behind bars in North Korea.

Doctors described Warmbier as in a state of "wakeful unresponsiveness", saying that he has not communicated or voluntarily moved since being reunited with his family.

Warmbier's doctors say they did not find any current signs of botulism in his system.

They said his prognosis remains confidential.

Warmbier, 22, is in stable condition at the UC Medical Center, where he was taken after his arrival in OH late Tuesday after more than 17 months in North Korean captivity. The country said they released the college student on "humanitarian grounds". He said Warmbier was breathing on his own.

The University of Virginia junior looked shell-shocked and downtrodden as he was dragged into court past year, where he tearfully begged for mercy. "But I did take the call, and it was gracious, and it was nice, and I thank him for that". Despite the risks, many adventure travelers continue to pass through China on their way to North Korea, lured by the prospect of visiting one of the world's most isolated and mysterious countries.

Otto is now being treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

His condition is stable, but he has experienced a "severe neurological injury".

Warmbier is in the intensive care unit at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Doctors plan a news conference on campus later Thursday.

Warmbier's father Fred lashed out earlier Thursday at the North Korean regime, saying he did not believe its claim that his son contracted botulism and fell into a coma shortly after being arrested previous year. When asked about his son's condition, he replied, "We are making him comfortable".

The trial took place over a year ago, and Warmbier is thought to have entered the coma in the weeks after the trial. The state-run Korean Central News Agency did not comment on his medical condition.

"Otto is not in great shape right now", Fred Warmbier, Otto's father, told Fox News in an interview Wednesday.

"Dennis Rodman had nothing to do with Otto", he said.

Fred Warmbier speaks during a news conference on June 15 at Wyoming High School in Cincinnati. "We are extremely grateful for their efforts and concern", he said.

The move comes in the wake of a University of Virginia student succumbing to a coma while detained by North Korean authorities.

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