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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

PFC. Jessica Lynch: Road to Recovery

Aired April 14, 2003 - 00:14   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Up until now, Private Jessica Lynch was in an exclusive club of POWs rescued from Iraq. She now has seven more soldiers joining her in that club, and the Lynch family could not be happier about that.
The latest on how Private Lynch is doing from CNN's Elizabeth Cohen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On American soil at last.

MAJ. GEN. KEVIN KILEY, WALTER REED ARMY MED. CTR.: I spoke with her last night on her arrival. I said to her, Private Lynch, welcome home, and welcome to Walter Reed. We're glad to have you here. And her response was I'm glad to be here too, sir.

COHEN: Now that Private First Class Jessica Lynch is at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., she has a long road to recovery for her injuries, which, the U.S. military says, consists of two broken legs, a broken arm, foot and ankle and a fractured disk in her lower spine.

KILEY: Private Lynch remains in satisfactory condition this morning and is resting comfortably.

COHEN: And how long will she be here for? Major General Kevin Kiley, the commander of Walter Reed, said he doesn't know, but told reporters to assume a few weeks. And while he wouldn't talk about Lynch's condition specifically, he did talk about her type of wounds generally.

KILEY: The nature of orthopedic injuries are such that many times they require repetitive surgical procedures.

COHEN: And along with the physical recovery comes the psychological recovery. One thing sure to weigh heavily on Lynch is the loss of her friends, including Private First Class Lori Piestewa, when their unit, the 507th Maintenance Company, was ambushed March 23.

COL. ELSPETH RITCHIE, ARMY PSYCHIATRIST: Often POWs feel an immense sense of guilt. They may feel bad because some of their fellow soldiers got killed. We want to reassure them and give them a chance to talk about these feelings.

COHEN: The deaths of Piestewa and the others from the 507th will be tough on Lynch, but the return of the soldiers, including five from her unit, is uplifting. Lynch and her family issued this statement Sunday morning.

"Our family joins America in rejoicing over the news of the safe return of seven brave heroes to U.S. military custody in Iraq. This is certainly an answer to our prayers.

(on camera): One very important part of a POW's emotional recovery is privacy. Psychologists say it's jarring for them to be thrust into the spotlight, and that's why the military will continue to keep Private Lynch away from the media and well-wishers.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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