A Look At Pvt. Lynch's Health

An unidentified person, right, hangs a banner welcoming former POW Jessica Lynch back home Sunday, July 20, 2003, in Palestine, W.Va. AP

Jessica Lynch is returning home today in need of additional rehabilitation but "fully self-sufficient," says Lt. Col. Greg Argyros, who has spearheaded the soldier's medical treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

For more than three months, Argyros saw Lynch every day - sometimes twice a day. He told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith, "Her condition has improved dramatically since her time when she first came to Walter Reed on the 12th of April. She is to the point now where she can walk long distances using a walker. For very long distances she still requires the use of a wheelchair, but otherwise she is fully self-sufficient."

Rehabilitation will continue in West Virginia, but Argyros said this is only to help her gain strength.

The extent of her injuries, he explains, included, "a fracture of her right upper arm, a fracture of three bones in her back, fracture of her right shoulder blade, two ribs. She fractured her upper and lower left leg, her lower right leg and in addition to multiple fractures in her right foot. She suffered large laceration on her scalp that was repaired in the Iraqi hospital," he said.

When asked how she was caught, he said it is still part of an ongoing military investigation.

"She remembers trying to escape in the ambush with her vehicle speeding away from the Iraqi forces," he says. "The next thing that she can recall is the time that she woke up in the Iraqi hospital. She definitely does remember the day of her rescue as in the last several weeks we've had several members of that rescue team come and visit her. She does remember the events of that day, but otherwise there is a time period from the time that her vehicle was hit to the time that she woke up toward the latter stages of her hospitalization."

Psychologically, Lt. Col. Argyros says, Lynch is doing well. He explains, "As part of the P.O.W. process, there is intensive military and mental health debriefing that takes place in a three-phase process. The first phase takes place in Kuwait. The second took place in Landstuhl and the third place is taking place at Walter Reed.

"Every day she's been here," he says, "in addition to her rehabilitation team, she's had a team of mental health officials who have evaluated her throughout the day. They feel she has come through this completely normally. No evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder. Certainly down the road there's a possibility that that [flashbacks] could take place, but as of now, there's no evidence that she has suffered any psychological or psychiatric after effects."
  • Tatiana Morales

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