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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

U.S. Army Press Conference From Germany

Aired November 3, 2003 - 06:33   ET

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

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to go live to Germany, from Landstuhl Hospital in Germany, where those injured soldiers are being treated. Let's listen to the presser (ph) now.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

DR. RHONDA CORNUM, U.S. ARMY: ... units of the Americans who were killed during the Chinook attack yesterday.

Before I begin taking questions, I would just like to say, for the record, that we did have 16 people so far evacuated and admitted to Landstuhl. Of those 16, 11 were admitted to our ICU, 5 are sufficiently stable to be on the ward. The actual medical condition of the people in the ICU was still under -- being evaluated as we speak. Currently, everyone is considered stable.

And with that, I'll take whatever questions you might have.

QUESTION: Are any of the patients in ICU in critical condition? Or do you feel that the death toll from the incident will rise? Is that a possibility?

CORNUM: Since I looked at the -- at least the seven initial admissions, I do not expect that. Now, you can always -- you know, you always hope that your expectations come to fruition. So, I do not expect that we will have any further deaths.

Ma'am?

QUESTION: Can you tell us (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

CORNUM: I absolutely cannot. And when the appropriate notification has gone out to the families, then that will become public knowledge.

Ma'am?

QUESTION: Can you describe the kinds of injuries that they suffered? Can you give us more details as to lacerations, broken bones?

CORNUM: Well, as with any airplane accident, a lot of broken bones, a lot of compressions, loss of consciousness from being knocked around, some head injuries, that sort of thing.

Sir? QUESTION: Are you able to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) whether any of them were wounded from a missile strike as opposed to just what followed the injuries from the accident?

CORNUM: At some time, we'll probably be able to tell that. Right now, I can't tell you that. I mean, we don't know right now.

QUESTION: Have they told you anything about...

CORNUM: I watch the news like everybody else. But to an individual person, you can't say that.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE).

CORNUM: Ma'am, I really don't know what the job descriptions of the people we have here are, so I can't tell you looking at them whether they were crew or passenger.

QUESTION: Are all of your casualties males?

CORNUM: No.

QUESTION: Can you tell us how many women are among them?

CORNUM: One that I saw, which probably is about the same percentage of the people that are deployed, so that's what you'd expect.

QUESTION: And are the family members of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on the way (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

CORNUM: So far, we've been contacted by two, and we're expecting two families to come. Certainly, I expect more of them will probably come. It really depends on how rapidly we expect that they will get evacuated back.

Sir?

QUESTION: I understand there are a total of 34 casualties coming in today on two flights from Iraq -- or 34 people. I'm not sure how many of them are casualties. What does that do to you operationally? Is this -- when you compare this day to other days (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

CORNUM: Thirty-four people coming in is just slightly less than the average we have coming in. But certainly, this is a much higher percentage of seriously-injured than we have seen until very recently. But 34 people coming in for medical care is just about the average for about the past 120 days.

QUESTION: But they're not trauma...

CORNUM: The amount of trauma cases, this is obviously a significant increase.

QUESTION: How many personnel do you have working (UNINTELLIGIBLE) patients, doctors, nurses? CORNUM: Well, now that's a hard question. We have several full- time ICU staff physicians. We have -- but it depends on whether they're -- we have neurosurgeons, we have orthopedic surgeons, we have general surgeons, we have internal medicine doctors and anesthesiologists -- all working with the patients, just, you know, depending upon what their problem is. Two full-time ICU docs, however.

QUESTION: Among the patients who are on the wards, have you been able to talk to or nurses at this point talk to them all just to see any initial reactions?

CORNUM: Well, they've certainly talked to them, but I can't speak for what they told them. And the nurses are, I'm sure, talking to them. And we also have the chaplains available. We have social work services. We have psychiatry and psychology, depending upon how, you know, their level of discomfort or comfort with talking about this wreck.

Sir?

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) patients that are on the ward, are some of the injuries light enough they can (UNINTELLIGIBLE) already made plans to move them on to the States?

CORNUM: Well, we haven't made that plan yet. Some of the injuries certainly are -- they are able to walk around, so I would say that some of them will be able to leave very quickly.

QUESTION: Are there any investigators here, PID (ph) or -- I'm not sure who (UNINTELLIGIBLE) talking to the patients to...

CORNUM: If there aren't, there probably will be.

COSTELLO: All right, we're going to step away from this. This was Dr. Rhonda Cornum talking about the treatment of U.S. soldiers who were flown to Landstuhl Hospital in Germany for treatment, after their Chinook helicopter was shot down over Fallujah.

She says they're treating about 34 soldiers. We understood 16 soldiers from that specific incident were brought to Landstuhl for treatment. She said many had broken bones and head injuries, and at least two families from the United States are going over to be with their loved ones.

As we get more information from Landstuhl, of course, we'll pass it on, along to you.

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