Medical Update - Friday, April 04, 2003
PALESTINE, W.Va — Former POW Pfc. Jessica Lynch suffered gunshot wounds when her convoy was attacked in Iraq, her family said Friday night.
The family of the 19-year-old supply clerk spoke Friday with doctors who treated Lynch at a hospital in Germany.
Word that Lynch suffered two entry and exit wounds contrasted the commander of the hospital, Col. David Rubenstein, who had said she was not shot or stabbed.
The wounds were found during treatment of her left leg and right arm for fractures and were "consistent with low-velocity, small-caliber rounds," such as a small rifle or handgun, said Dan Little, Lynch cousin.
"It's not a machine gun. It's not a large caliber-rifle. It's nothing like that," he said.
He said evidence of shrapnel was discovered next to bones, but he didn't know exactly where on the arm or leg. Little said he didn't get into specifics with the doctors.
"We just talked straight with the doctor. We were concerned about her well-being," he said.
Lynch's 507th Maintenance Company convoy was attacked March 23 when it made a wrong turn in southern Iraq. Lynch was rescued during a daring raid Tuesday after the military was tipped that she was being held in an Iraqi hospital.
The family received permission from doctors to see her and plan to fly on Saturday from Charleston, W.Va., to Germany. Little said he couldn't divulge how many were going.
Lynch was receiving treatment Friday at the military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
She had a back operation Thursday and surgery for other broken bones Friday. She suffered a head wound and fractures in her right arm, both legs, her right foot and ankle, and an injury to her spine.
Rods and pins were placed in her arm and broken legs, and she underwent a CAT scan "to make sure everything was intact after they took care of the fractures," Little said.
In addition, "she had a little infection because of the open wound and the environment she was in," Little said.
The family had become frustrated about a lack of medical updates on the teenager, who joined the Army right out of high school to earn money so she can attend college and become a kindergarten teacher.
Now, "the family is upbeat," Little said.
"I think if you were to put yourself in their position and one of your loved ones was outside your immediate reach and injured ... you would want to wrap your arms around them too, and be able to hear progress, hour by hour, minute by minute," he said.
Although her body is on the mend, she may never recall the details of her capture and subsequent rescue, said her brother, Greg Lynch Jr.
"She probably remembers the initial attack and then anything after that she was probably in pain and misery and doesn't want to remember anything about that," he said.
The family continues to hold an evening prayer session for her and the other members of the 507th convoy who were captured, killed or remain missing in action.
"That's what brought Jessi back," said her father, Greg Lynch Sr., "and it will bring them back too."
But getting Lynch back to Wirt County, which has a population of nearly 5,900 residents, is foremost on the family's mind.
"Getting Jessi home to Wirt County is all we care about," her brother said.