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Cousin: Rescued POW has Bullet Wounds

Cousin: Rescued POW has Bullet Wounds

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LANDSTUHL, Germany (AP) -- Jessica Lynch has a new pair of eyeglasses and a close friend by her bedside. She's also made her first order from the hospital kitchen: turkey, apple sauce and steamed carrots.

America's best-known POW was getting VIP treatment Friday at the military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, but officials still aren't releasing many details of her ordeal or the circumstances of her injuries: a head wound and fractures in her right arm, both legs, her right foot and ankle, and an injury to her spine.

She had a back operation Thursday and surgery for other broken bones Friday, said the commander of the hospital, Col. David Rubenstein. He said she was not shot or stabbed.

But Dan Little, a cousin who held a news conference Friday night in West Virginia, said Lynch's mother, Deadra Lynch, had talked with her doctors and they had determined that the soldier had been shot. He said they found two entry and exit wounds "consistent with low-velocity, small-caliber rounds."

They also found shrapnel, Little said. Rods and pins had been placed in her arms and legs, and she had responded well to treatment for a fever and an elevated white blood cell count. Her heart rate also was high.

He said she had been placed in the intensive care unit, purely for observation.

The military has not disclosed the cause of her wounds or said whether they occurred in captivity or when she was ambushed on March 23 with other members of the 507th Maintenance Company. Two members of her unit were confirmed killed, five are being held prisoner and seven are listed as missing.

Nine of 11 bodies discovered in the raid that freed Lynch are believed to be those of American soldiers. On Friday, the parents of one of the missing soldiers, Spc. James Kiehl, 22, of Comfort, Texas, said they were told that his body was found at the hospital.

In Germany, a close friend from Lynch's unit is with her and she has spoken by telephone with her family, Rubenstein said. She will need "extensive rehabilitative services" but was expected to recuperate completely, he said.

"Her emotional state is extremely good. She's jovial. She's talking with staff," he said.

On Saturday, her family will fly from Charleston, W.Va., to Germany to see her, the West Virginia governor's office said.

The 19-year-old supply clerk, an Army private first class, was being fed intravenously -- but had drawn up a list of favorite foods for the hospital: turkey, apple sauce and steamed carrots.

"A daughter any parent would be proud of," Rubenstein said.

The military also replaced the eyeglasses she lost in Iraq.

Lynch and the other soldiers were ambushed when she and other members of her company made a wrong turn in Nasiriyah. U.S. commandos rescued her Tuesday.

An Iraqi lawyer reportedly tipped U.S. forces to Lynch's location in a Nasiriyah hospital.

The 32-year-old lawyer, identified only as Mohammed, told The Washington Post and USA Today that he peered through a window at the hospital where his wife worked as a nurse and saw a sight that "cut" his heart: Lynch being slapped in the face by a black-clad Iraqi security agent.

He said he decided on the spot he had to tell U.S. forces where to find the captured American private.

"Don't worry, don't worry," he recalled telling Lynch after later sneaking into her hospital room and promising to help.

At the hospital in Germany, Rubenstein said Lynch had no television and was not able to follow coverage of the war.

"We will answer her questions when she asks them," he said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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