|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and|
Colonel Rick Erdman, Commander of Walter Reed Hospital Remarks after visit with East African Bombing Victims and Families
Washington, D.C., August 14, 1998
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good morning. I just had an opportunity to visit with the six patients who are here who came from Nairobi. They are in various stages of doing better, I think. Theyíre very brave. They have their families, for the most part, with them. Weíre trying to do everything we can to make everybody comfortable.
One of the patients that I saw in Germany yesterday will be coming by the weekend, and so she will be here with this group.
I have to say, I have the highest admiration for all the doctors that are here that are working with such a variety of problems and the whole approach of social services and help in the trauma aspect of this. These are all wonderful Americans -- both those who have been injured and those who are taking care of them.
So I did want to come out and see the people here. Now youíll get a medical update.
QUESTION: Madame Albright, could you comment on The Washington Post story --
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I am not going to comment -- (Inaudible)
COLONEL ERGMAN: (In progress) -- statement to make about the clinical status of our six great Americans, who are being taken care of by our staff here at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I would like to just briefly mention their individual status. I cannot comment any further about their specific care, since this would violate their confidentiality.
QUESTION: Whatís your name, sir?
COLONEL ERDMAN: My name is Colonel Rick Erdman; Iím the commander of the hospital here at Walter Reed. Ellen Bomer, who is in fair but stable condition; Marine Sergeant Daniel Briehl, in good condition; Clyde Hirn, in fair but stable condition; Frank Pressley, serious but stable condition; Lydia Sparks, good condition; and Gary Spears, in good condition.
Those are the six patients that we have. We may get another patient later on this evening -- being flown in by Medivac from Nairobi. We will know more details later.
QUESTION: Is that the patient that the Secretary spoke of?
QUESTION: And how are the spirits of these patients?
COLONEL ERDMAN: This morning I think the spirits are wonderful. Every one of these patients has progressed clinically. Part of the idea here is not only to take care of their medical and surgical needs, but also to take care of the needs of the family and the needs that they have from the psychological standpoint -- the stress concerns we see after a bombing incident. All of that is part of a package deal thatís being addressed here.
QUESTION: Have these patients been interviewed by investigators?
COLONEL ERDMAN: Theyíre being debriefed right now by the clinical staff. They may, in fact, have a debriefing by others as well.
QUESTION: So theyíre helping participate in the investigation as to who did the bombing?
COLONEL ERDMAN: There are folks other than the clinical staff who are participating.
QUESTION: The FBI or --
QUESTION: That are here now?
COLONEL ERDMAN: Not at this moment.
QUESTION: But have been here?
COLONEL ERDMAN: Other federal agencies. Iím not sure exactly which ones, but there are other federal agencies involved.
QUESTION: Have those patients been helpful in the investigation?
COLONEL ERDMAN: I canít answer that one.
QUESTION: Do you have any estimate as to when they might start leaving the hospital, operating on their own?
COLONEL ERDMAN: There are two of them that we believe will be leaving fairly soon -- probably today or tomorrow. Others will require more care, perhaps more surgical intervention. But every one of them seems to be progressing and getting better.
QUESTION: Did they see the ceremony yesterday for the arrival of their colleagues?
COLONEL ERDMAN: Pardon me, sir?
QUESTION: The ceremony yesterday at Andrews for the arrival of their colleagues; and did they have any comment on that?
COLONEL ERDMAN: They mentioned today that they saw that yesterday. At least one of the members did -- Iím not sure how many of them were able to see that. But they certainly appreciated what Madeleine Albright, Madame Secretary, did on their behalf and on their familiesí behalf.
QUESTION: You say youíre getting another injured. Do you know anything about the injuries to this individual -- how serious that might be and what they are?
COLONEL ERDMAN: No sir, I donít know the name. I do know that this casualty was Medivacíd to Frankfurt, Germany, first and is being taken care of there now; and now is en route here later on today.
Thank you all.
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you.
[End of Document]
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