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Lynch Recovering From Captivity at Landstuhl Hospital

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 4, 2003 – Army Pfc. Jessica D. Lynch is at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, recovering from injuries sustained during nine days as a prisoner of war in Iraq, U.S. military officials said today.

Lynch, 19, of Palestine, W.V., is assigned to the 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, based at Fort Bliss, Texas. Iraqi forces ambushed the convoy she was riding in March 23, when it took a wrong turn around Nasiriyah. Military officials launched a rescue effort April 1 after learning she was being held at the Saddam Hospital, a facility used by the regime as a military post.

Lynch was not shot or stabbed, said Army Col. David A. Rubenstein, commander at the Landstuhl medical center. Her injuries include fractures to her right arm, both legs, right foot and ankle, and lumbar spine. She also suffered a head laceration.

"She has undergone several surgeries to stabilize her injuries, to include spinal surgery which was completed here yesterday," Rubenstein said. The surgeries have gone well, but Lynch will require extensive rehabilitative services, he said.

"Lynch is being managed through an established repatriation process designed to optimize her recovery," he said. "She has received continuous medical and psychological care since her recovery from captivity and that health care, the highest quality that she is receiving now, will continue as long as she needs."

Lynch has spoken to her family, Rubenstein said, including her grandmother, whom the staff reached less than an hour after Lynch arrived at the medical center.

"Jessica remains in good spirits," he said. "In fact, she is jovial and joking with a soldier who has accompanied her here from her unit."

Back home in Palestine a day earlier, Lynch's parents said they'd spoken with Jessica before and after the surgery.

"We know she's in good spirits because they told her they were going to put pink casts on her legs and arms," said her father, Gregory Lynch Sr., noting that she had a pink cast on her arm when she was in third grade

Lynch's father also said he'd spoken with her doctors after they'd completed one surgery on her back. They told Lynch's parents that the reports that she had multiple gunshot wounds and knife stabbings were not true. They also said they don't yet know what caused Jessica's injuries.

Rubenstein noted that to date Landstuhl has received 226 patients from Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ninety-six received battle injuries. Another 48 patients, including 13 with battle injuries, were expected to arrive later in the day.

"We appreciate all of the heartfelt concern and warm wishes for Jessica's recovery, and extend our own prayers for all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and civilians involved with the global war on terrorism as well as the actions of Operation Iraqi Freedom," Rubenstein said.

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