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Rescued POW Lynch will recuperate at Walter Reed Hospital

WASHINGTON—Former prisoner-of-war Pfc. Jessica Lynch will likely spend several weeks at Washington's Walter Reed Army Medical Center recuperating from multiple injuries suffered in her capture and detention by Iraqi troops, her doctors said Sunday.

Lynch, a 19-year-old Army supply clerk who was rescued from an Iraqi hospital by U.S. Special Operations troops on April 1, arrived at the military hospital Saturday evening from a U.S. Army hospital in Landstuhl, Germany along with 10 other soldiers who had suffered combat-related injuries in Iraq.

"She seems to be in good spirits," said Maj. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, M.D., the hospital commander. "She's in satisfactory condition this morning and is resting comfortably."

Lynch and her family, who are also staying at the medical center, offered their grateful respects to seven other U.S. POWs freed Sunday in Iraq.

"This is certainly an answer to our prayers and—we're certain—the prayers of literally millions of other concerned citizens of the world," the Lynch family wrote in a prepared statement. "To the families of these great troops, we'd like to offer you our assurances that they will receive the best care imaginable."

The duration of Lynch's hospital stay depends on how quickly she responds to treatment for an injured vertebra in her lower back and multiple fractures in her right arm, left leg, right ankle and foot.

Lynch, whose capture, rescue and resiliency have gripped the nation, was traveling in an Army convoy near the Iraqi city of Nasiriyah on March 23 when it was ambushed by Iraqi militia fighters. Lynch reportedly returned fire until she ran out of ammunition.

Lynch will undergo counseling and treatment for any emotional and psychological distress she may have suffered while a POW.

At her family's request, Lynch is not taking visitors or phone calls, Kiley said.

"We are committed to protecting her privacy. Until she's ready to talk to anyone, including friends and family, we're going to protect her," Kiley said.

Persons wishing to write Pfc. Lynch can send letters to the Walter Reed Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20307.


(c) 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.