Blood Clot, Pneumonia May Have Killed Otto Warmbier

Autopsy results are expected Tuesday or Wednesday
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2017 1:36 PM CDT

(Newser) – When Otto Warmbier was returned from North Korea last week after being held for more than a year, he was in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness" but otherwise stable—until he died suddenly Monday. Now NBC News reports doctors are trying to figure out what happened. One expert says Warmbier's family may have decided not to treat a medical issue—such as pneumonia, or sepsis, or a urinary tract infection—given that Warmbier was unlikely ever to recover from his vegetative state. Another says Warmbier may have suffered a pulmonary embolism, with his long flight from North Korea making a blood clot more likely. Here's what else you need to know about Warmbier and North Korea following the 22-year-old's death:

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  • We should have more details on Warmbier's death late Tuesday or Wednesday when the coroner releases initial autopsy findings, Reuters reports.
  • The Cavalier Daily reports the University of Virginia Student Council will hold a vigil for Warmbier at 9pm Tuesday on campus. "The thoughts and prayers of the University of Virginia Student Body are with the Warmbier family and all those who loved Otto," the council said in a statement.
  • Warmbier's funeral will be held Thursday morning at Wyoming High School in Ohio, ABC News tweets.
  • Despite Trump's apparent willingness to sit down with Kim Jong Un, experts say Warmbier's death dramatically reduces—if not outright kills—chances for an improved relationship between the US and North Korea. "There is going to be a lot of anger," the director of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies tells the New York Times.
  • Time reports South Korean President Moon Jae-in condemned North Korea's "unjust and cruel treatment" of Warmbier without outright accusing its government of murder. "We cannot know for sure that North Korea killed Mr. Warmbier," Moon said. "But I believe it is quite clear that they have a heavy responsibility in the process that led to Mr. Warmbier's death."
(Read more Otto Warmbier stories.)

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